This week Uber is launching its food delivery service, UberEats, in New York City and Chicago. The company has already piloted the program in Los Angeles and Barcelona. UberEats will be accessible from within Uber's existing app, although the food option only shows up when consumers are in the coverage area. The service promises dishes from "popular, iconic restaurants" delivered curbside — not to your door — "faster than it takes to boil water."
An Uber representative told The Verge that UberEats has its own dedicated drivers. Lunch options will range from $9 to $12, while dinner options will range from $10 to $15. The Uber rep said meals come with a $3 delivery fee ($4 in New York City), regardless of the number of meals you order.
"Faster than it takes to boil water."
In a blog post about the expansion, Uber says it plans to "curate" menus, which will change daily, just like any other artisanal app experience. For its inaugural run in New York City, UberEats will kick off with "an exclusive sandwich" from American Cut, Kale Caesar salad from Sweetgreen, the steak sandwich from Num Pang, and more. Chicago consumers can order the Pepito Torta from XOCO and Carne Asada Cemita from Cemitas, among other offerings.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been telegraphing his attempt at delivery domination since 2013, when he told Bloomberg: "Once you're delivering cars in five minutes, there's a lot of things you can deliver in 5 minutes." Uber's first foray into "things" began with courier service called UberRush tested in Manhattan. Next up was Cornerstore, a delivery service for household items beta-tested in Washington, D.C. that was renamed UberEssentials.
It's only natural that the company, which raised $5.9 billion in funding, doubles down on UberEats while venture capitalists are salivating hundreds of millions over food delivery.
Uber claims that the response to UberEats has been "amazingly positive." In Los Angeles, Uber now offers brunch on the weekends and claims delivery time is down to 10 minutes or less. According to Uber, its drivers "tell us they love having another way to earn more through the Uber platform," although the $40 billion company and its contract workers don't always see eye to eye. To promote its carpool offering, Uber is charging San Francisco customers only $7 to get anywhere in the city using UberPool, while drivers are compensated regularly. It's unclear what kind of incentives Uber is offering drivers for UberEats.
Uber says the feedback from UberEats has been 'amazingly positive'
In response to questions from The Verge about the status of of UberRush and UberEssentials, the company said that UberRush was still running out of New York City, adding:
We're always experimenting and finding new, creative ways to leverage the Uber app and provide even greater value to our riders and driver partners. UberEssentials was one of those experiments and we’re already taking our learnings and using them to determine what’s next. What we found with UberEssentials is people loved the convenience of using the Uber platform to get their everyday household products on-demand. The experiment allowed us to identify what our users valued about the service, as well as areas where we can make the experience even better. We look forward to continuing to innovate and providing users with new and valuable ways to leverage the Uber app.
To place an UberEats order, users just slide to appropriate tab and hit "view menu." The idea is to make food delivery as gratuitously mindless as ordering a private driver. But before Sprig, DoorDash, SpoonRocket, or any of the other heavily-funded food apps start sweating, they can take comfort in the fact that when Cornerstore (sorry UberEssentials) first launched, it was supposed to keep Amazon's Jeff Bezos up at night.