IMG_6332Amazon.com is certainly no stranger to the food market, having delivered groceries to the doors of customers in Seattle — and more recently California — for the past several years via Amazon Fresh.

Now the Seattle giant is taking it one step further with a new food takeout service powered by its Amazon Local mobile app.

Unlike many of the new food delivery services that have been popping up all over the place, Amazon’s takeout program does not deliver food to your door and instead is a simple way to purchase food for pick-up using the Amazon Local app.

It’s not exactly a groundbreaking service, as many likely have no problem simply looking at a menu online and calling in an order. But for those that may not be familiar with dishes at a restaurant, or who prefer to pay online with a credit card, Amazon Local might be a nice option.

We just tried out the new takeout service in Seattle, where Amazon is testing the feature on its iOS Local app, and here’s how it works in a nutshell:

1. Pick dishes from any of 46 restaurants on Amazon Local’s app.

2. Log into your Amazon account, pay with a credit card.

3. Amazon sends an email to you with a pickup time.

4. You pick up food at the restaurant.

IMG_6333Here’s a more detailed report from our experience today:

1. On the Amazon Local app homepage, a big picture with “Introducing Takeout” showed up. There was also a “Restaurant Takeout” button under a “Restaurants” tab on the left-hand drop-down menu.

After clicking on that, we were presented a list of 46 restaurants sorted by closest distance, 22 of which were open (you can’t order from places that are closed). There were several high-end eateries to pick from — El Gaucho, Salty’s, Metropolitan Grill, to name a few — in addition to a few more affordable options. Each restaurant page had descriptions, photos, maps, and of course, full menus. All the open places had an estimated takeout time of 30 minutes.

2. Eventually we decided on The Boar’s Nest, a highly-rated BBQ joint a short drive from our Fremont offices. I picked out four items — two sandwiches, a salad, and some fried pickles — and my total ended up being $31.14 with tax and a 15 percent tip. The food prices listed on Amazon’s app were identical to what I saw on the Boar’s Nest website.

IMG_56183. I had yet to log into my Amazon account, and when I wanted to pay, the app asked for my log-in credentials. After entering that and selecting a credit card, I typed in a pickup name and my mobile phone number.

4. Once confirming the purchase at 12:03 p.m., Amazon asked me to “wait a few minutes while we confirm your order with the restaurant.”

Eight minutes later, I received another email notifying me that the order would be ready at The Boar’s Nest at 12:41 p.m. If I had questions, Amazon directed me to the restaurant’s phone number. If I needed directions, Amazon offered a Bing Maps link.

The Boar's Nest in Ballard.
The Boar’s Nest in Ballard.

5. While I drove over to The Boar’s Nest, I thought about how nice it would be if Amazon instead delivered the food to our office instead. Turns out that this was possible with Postmates, a company we reviewed last week that delivers food from The Boar’s Nest.

I arrived at the eatery around 12:45 p.m. and my food was ready. The cook told me that his restaurant had only received a few orders from Amazon Local’s app in the past two months, and how Amazon takes a cut from each order.

But he did note that he’s been happy with the business from Amazon Fresh. The Boar’s Nest offers an array of items on Amazon’s online grocery platform and prepares dishes cold that customers heat up in their homes.

IMG_9476
Fried chicken sandwich and fried pickles from The Boar’s Nest.

6. I came back to the office with our food. My fried chicken sandwich was decent, but the tasty sauces I applied helped increase my happiness level. My colleagues were also satisfied with their food.

Final thoughts: When I first heard of this new service, I thought Amazon was delivering food. Instead, they are simply offering a way to order takeout food through its Amazon Local app.

My experience ordering the grub was relatively easy, so props to Amazon for that. But the next time I want lunch or dinner from one of Seattle’s top spots, I’d rather just use one of the new delivery services we just reviewed.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon rolls out this new program — both to other locations, and to other eateries. It faces tough competition in the delivery/takeout space, but this new play certainly fits into Amazon’s other attempts to serve the local market.

And maybe when and if the FAA approves Amazon’s delivery drones, they’ll fly food to your doorstep, too.

Comments

  • Just Wondering

    Seems useful.

  • Mike

    Why was there a 15% tip when there was no server to tip?

  • http://IKnowBO.com/ Slam1263

    That is one dry looking $31.14 chicken sammich.

    • Just Wondering

      Article “two sandwiches, a salad, and some fried pickles — and my total ended up being $31.14 with tax and a 15 percent tip.”

      • http://IKnowBO.com/ Slam1263

        How does that make this sammich look moister?

        • rightinthepussy

          he….said he put sauce on it? Derp

          • http://IKnowBO.com/ Slam1263

            Thanks for over-Sharing.

  • http://www.bellevuefineart.com/ panacheart

    So now small businesses like this have one more service to pay. It’s not enough that rent is killing them, and the credit card fees which amount to about 4% of sales when all is said and done, but now they have a new layer to pay – amazon. Amazon provides zero service here. They’ve just become a middle man to take some of the profit margin from the businesses that need it the most.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t find this useful at all. Are people really so stupid they can’t make an order through a local restaurant without Amazon? Why don’t we just apply an amazon tax on top of state sales tax and get it over with.

    • http://IKnowBO.com/ Slam1263

      Although, as a business owner, I look for any legal way to make more money, dealing with Amazon has been painful.
      A long time customer went to their Amazon account, and did the “Do you want to buy through Amazon” thing.
      I had no idea what was going on, but I suddenly started receiving 8-10 phone calls a day from Amazon, stating there was all kinds of interest in my product.
      So I tried it.
      $12 to date. In researching why I wasn’t getting anything but phone calls expressing interest, I found out that these calls are from Amazon themselves.
      They lost my customers order, by placing it on her porch, rather than the drop box she had set up. I ended up taking a replacement, this is a $12 order, just because I care.
      They charged me 15% for the privilege of the hassle.

      • balls187

        cool story bro.

      • Nate

        Can you provide more information about the restaurant side of this, is the service fee or tip the customer sees going to Amazon? Does the restaurant have to pay Amazon a percent on top of that? I want to know if the Amazon service in any way cuts into the margin of the restaurant… do they make less money on a sandwich ordered through amazon as opposed to a normal takeout order?

        • Taylor Soper

          In terms of the Amazon Local takeout service, the cook told me that Amazon takes a small cut from every order. Also, the prices were identical on Amazon vs. at the restaurant. So, yes, the restaurant makes less money on a sandwich ordered through Amazon as opposed to a normal takeout order.

        • http://IKnowBO.com/ Slam1263

          One of my businesses sells t-shirts, and custom graphics.
          The Boars Nest, the restaurant that is in question may be able to answer your question.
          For me, it was about 15% of the sale. Not a huge amount, but about double my normal card fees. If you don’t have a way to take credit cards, it isn’t really out of line, but I pay monthly to be able to do this.
          My biggest issues was delivery, using their contractor, the one that wouldn’t deliver according to the customers special notes, left the package on the front porch of a home on a busy street.
          The neighborhood is nice, so it attracts criminals, and many residents have lock boxes to thwart this. I drove across town, which is nice to be able to do, I ship things globally so this isn’t always an option, and replaced the order.
          Me keeping my customers happy is my Number One Job.

          • http://www.bellevuefineart.com/ panacheart

            15% is a lot. It’s a whole lot considering they’re only acting as a middle man and not touching anything.

      • http://www.bellevuefineart.com/ panacheart

        nice story

  • http://blog.daryn.net daryn

    There’s one thing I order regularly that I find WAY more convenient through an app than over the phone: SUSHI! It’s such a pain in the ass to write down or circle every item you want, read your order over the phone, and make sure you got it right. Way better to have it in writing… (and maybe I’m weird, but I way prefer picking up my sushi myself than having it delivered in the backpack of some sweaty bike messenger).

    Also, Taylor, you should have gotten GW to spring for one of the more unique offerings on the Amazon list, for example the fantastically delicious prix fixe dinner for two from El Gaucho… :)

    • Taylor Soper

      Excellent idea daryn. I think review #2 will feature a meal from El Gaucho.

      Good points about the benefits of something like this. At first glance this didn’t seem all that great, but I see why some people would love ordering on their smartphone.

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