It’s official: UberEATS is the fastest restaurant delivery service around.
Two GeekWire reporters took the relatively new offering for a test drive on Tuesday, ordering food around the same time from two different Seattle neighborhoods. One of us got our lunch within six minutes, and the other in a mind-blowing two minutes.
Both meals were as advertised. They were the proper temperature and, as fate would have it, pretty tasty.
The service isn’t perfect, and absolutely comes with its fair share of tradeoffs in order to provide speedy delivery. But for those who are looking to grab lunch fast, Uber’s on-demand option is going to be hard to beat.
Uber’s model works by having restaurants make the food before you order it and then distributing the dishes around to different drivers. You then order through the same app you use to hail a ride. Just like finding an Uber driver, the app then dispatches the closest car that happens to be carrying what you asked for.
On Tuesday, the menu included three entrees from local eateries Baguette Box, Cedars, and Kraken Congee.
After trying to order lunch from UberEATS on Wednesday and Thursday — and failing — my third attempt proved successful today.
While walking back to my parked car in the heart of downtown Seattle just after 1 p.m., I opened up the Uber app and browsed the menu. The “Soba Noodles with Chicken” from nearby Kraken Congee looked tasty so I went with that for $10.
Unlike my previous attempts, when I waited, waited, and waited for a driver response with no luck, this time Anteneh accepted my order within seconds. He was also only two minutes away. And sure enough, two minutes later, Anteneh pulled up. Two minutes!
UberEATS drivers are instructed to stay in their vehicle, so I walked to his passenger-side window and he quickly handed me my food, along with utensils. I noticed two bags in the front seat: One labeled “hot,” and the other, which had ice bags in it, “cold.”
Anteneh said he also drove his Prius for UberX, which was not surprising. Doing lunch deliveries for UberEATS from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. can help regular Uber drivers make cash during what is typically a slow time.
“It’s not the busiest time on the Uber platform for transportation,” Uber Seattle General Manager Brooke Steger told GeekWire last week at the UberEATS launch party. “This is a perfect accent to their businesses and allows them to generate more income.”
The food itself was, as expected, chilled. I had no real complaints about the taste, but there did seem to be a little less chicken than what the picture on Uber’s app depicted. Other than that, I was happy with the dish.
One notable part of my order was that “Soba Noodles with Chicken” is nowhere to be found on Kraken Congee’s normal menu. Perhaps the restaurant created the dish specifically for UberEATS deliveries?
My colleague, GeekWire reporter Jacob Demmitt, separately ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala from Cedars. That dish is listed at $10.95 on the normal menu, and he paid $12 for it through UberEATS.
All in all, I was happy to finally test Uber’s food delivery service. It felt like magic to push a button and have a fresh lunch in my hands two minutes later.
UberEATS is by far the fastest food delivery service we’ve ever seen, but also offers fewer menu items to choose from, shorter hours of operation and availability only in select neighborhoods.
Amazon Prime Now’s restaurant delivery service, meanwhile, operates pretty much all day and has more than 50 full restaurant menus to choose from. But those orders usually take between 30 minutes and one hour to show up.
Bottom line: UberEATS doesn’t do quite as much as other restaurant delivery options, but what it does, it does extremely well.
GeekWire’s Jacob Demmitt contributed to this report.