Uber is getting ready to launch its UberEATS service in Seattle on Oct. 7, making the city the first battleground where Uber and Amazon will go head-to-head in the food delivery business.
Uber’s first menu includes drunken chicken from Monsoon, pulled pork from Skillet Diner and salads from Volunteer Park Cafe. It will be available on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in six neighborhoods: Downtown, Pioneer Square, Belltown, Lower Queen Anne, South Lake Union and Capitol Hill.
UberEATS’ business model is pretty different from other food delivery services because it’s designed to take advantage of the vast network of drivers the company already has on the roads. The main difference is that restaurants prepare UberEATS food before you order. Plates are distributed to various drivers, who then go about their business until someone requests a meal drop off. The model means Uber can deliver food within about 10 minutes since it’s already on the road, but it’s also much less flexible than other providers.
The company uses a rotating menu that lets you choose between about three dishes from local restaurants each day. Plates aren’t customizable and can only be ordered during set lunch hours. UberEATS also won’t deliver the food to your front door. Instead, you order food through the same app you use to hail a ride and then meet a driver at the curb to pick up your lunch. Delivery in other markets where it’s already available costs a flat rate of $3, plus the cost of the food, which is usually between $8 and $12.
GeekWire first reported on the Seattle expansion earlier this month after we noticed job listings that indicated UberEATS is about to come to at least five additional cities including San Diego, Phoenix, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Miami.
Amazon’s Prime Now food delivery option already launched in Seattle earlier this month, and so far it has not disappointed. That offering is more robust, with dozens more of restaurants to choose from, custom orders and longer operating hours.
That being said, Uber’s system sounds much quicker and simpler — so it should be quite a showdown to see which service reigns supreme.
Both companies seem to have big plans for their respective offerings, but Seattle will be the first place we’ll be able to try them side-by-side. And don’t worry, GeekWire will be standing by to do exactly that.