Taking a cue from the battered restaurant industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the Girl Scouts of the USA announced this week that it would offer contactless delivery and pickup of their cookies through Grubhub.
It's the first time that the Girl Scouts, who have sold cookies for more than a century, have collaborated with a national delivery service, the organization said.
For decades, cookie stands, stacked with boxes of Samoas, Thin Mints and Trefoils, have been ubiquitous outside supermarkets and in other high-traffic areas. So have direct sales pitches from parents of Girl Scouts to their colleagues at work.
But then the pandemic hit -- drastically limiting direct contact. So the Girl Scouts got creative.
"We're proud of the resourceful ways Girl Scouts are running their cookie businesses safely and using their earnings to make the world a better place," Judith Batty, interim chief executive of the Girl Scouts, said in a statement. "This season, our girls will continue to exemplify what the cookie program taught them -- how to think like entrepreneurs, use innovative sales tactics and pivot to new ways of doing business when things don't go according to plan."
Cookie sales were already underway last year when the global pandemic was declared, which the organization said had prompted many Girl Scouts to adapt their strategies. Some created virtual cookie booths on social media, while others shipped orders or set up drive-thru pickup sites, the organization said.
The Girl Scouts said online ordering would begin Feb. 1, with Grubhub making deliveries in select markets. Additional markets will be introduced over the course of cookie-selling season, which typically runs from January through April.
The Girl Scouts said Grubhub had agreed to waive all of the fees that it and competitors like Uber Eats and DoorDash typically charge to restaurants. The fees have become a source of complaints within the industry.
A representative for Grubhub said Wednesday night that the company was not immediately prepared to comment.
Members of the Girl Scouts will track and fulfill orders and manage inventory using Grubhub's back-end technology, the organization said. To promote the partnership, the Girl Scouts said, Grubhub will offer free delivery on cookie orders of at least $15 through Feb. 14. Orders can be placed on the Grubhub website or its delivery app.
Consumers who don't already know a Girl Scout can search for troops that are selling cookies by entering their ZIP codes on the Girl Scouts' national website beginning Feb. 1. They also can purchase cookies to donate to emergency responders and other charitable groups.
Along with the announcement about the contactless delivery, the Girl Scouts introduced a new variety of cookie -- Toast-Yay, inspired by French toast and dipped in icing -- that will be sold in select areas this year.