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Amazon's food delivery ambitions heat up with a new restaurants division

Amazon's food delivery ambitions heat up with a new restaurants division


It's Prime time for dinner

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Amazon is moving ever faster into the world of food delivery, according to recent job postings on its website. As first noticed today by Reuters, the Seattle retail giant has at least 15 postings listed on its own job database for a new unit called Amazon Restaurants. At least five people have updated their LinkedIn pages to reflect they now work for the division, one of whom moved from food delivery competitor GrubHub.

"Hungry? Ordering food just got easier with Amazon Restaurants. Customers can now order meal delivery from top-rated restaurants in their area," reads one job description for an associate account manager. "Following the product debut in our launch market, Amazon Restaurants will rapidly expand across the US, offering Amazon customers increased restaurant delivery selection and convenience."

Amazon Prime may evolve far past free shipping

While it's unclear whether Amazon Restaurants will focus solely on hot meal delivery, signs of the company's eagerness to compete with food ordering services like Grubhub, DoorDash, and Munchery have been in plain sight for some time. Piggybacking off its same-day delivery initiative, Amazon has already begun rolling out a network called Prime Now, a one-hour delivery service that began ferrying alcohol to customers with its Seattle launch last week. Prime Now, which delivers everyday items to Prime members for a $7.99 fee, has been active in New York City since December of last year and launched in London in June. Amazon has also been expanding its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service since 2013 and is still adamant on its plan to equip high-flying drones for all manner of home deliveries in the future.

Amazon has reportedly been testing this under-wraps hot food delivery service in Seattle by allowing Prime Now drivers in the area to double as meal deliverers, according to a report by GeekWire last week. How this shapes up as an official service may depend on what catches on with consumers. It's still uncertain whether partnering with certain restaurants and offering daily meal specials — or allowing wholesale ordering from any take-out-ready joint — will prove to be profitable. Some companies, like San Francisco-based SpoonRocket, have found success making the meals themselves. Ride-hailing service Uber has been dabbling in the former with UberEats, which offers selected meals from a few restaurants per day in select cities around the world.