Uber’s food delivery ambitions are ramping up.
Up until now, Uber only offered lunch delivery via UberEATS, which first launched in beta back in 2014. Drivers would carry around pre-made meals and deliver them to users who ordered within the existing Uber transportation app.
Now, though, Uber is creating a food-focused standalone app that offers not only lunch delivery — which is re-branded as “Instant Delivery” — but is also expanding to more hours and more restaurants. Customers will be able to pick from full menus at hundreds of different restaurants, rather than just the curated meals with the original lunch delivery service.
SFGate reported that customers will pay a $5 delivery fee in San Francisco, but that will be waived initially as Uber tries to attract more users.
The app, already available in Toronto, will arrive in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Melbourne, New York, Paris, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. soon. GeekWire reported about Uber’s preparations to launch the full-blown UberEATS service in Seattle earlier this month.
Though Uber’s revenue primarily comes from transporting people around cities, the company is looking to expand into other verticals with its delivery infrastructure now in place and the vast network of drivers it already has on the roads. Something like UberEATS also provides another revenue opportunity for Uber drivers beyond picking up and dropping off passengers.
“Whether it’s the ride that gets you from A to B or the food that makes you happy, Uber is there to help you get what you need, when you need it,” Uber wrote in a blog post today.
Uber, which has raised more than $8 billion, faces a flurry of competition in the food delivery market with startups and corporations alike utilizing technology to help get food, grocery items, and other products in the hands of consumers in the most efficient way possible. In Seattle, food delivery options include services like DoorDash, Peach, Lish, Munchery, Square-owned Caviar, Postmates, Bitesquad, Seamless, Gobble, GrubHub, Farmigo, Yelp-owned Eat 24, and many others.
Even big tech giants like Amazon — which also delivers groceries via AmazonFresh, a competitor to Instacart — are getting involved, with the Seattle company rolling out a new restaurant delivery service that GeekWire tested last year.
The competition is heated, and some aren’t finding success. Just today, TechCrunch reported that SpoonRocket shut down after failing to raise more investment — it closed shop in Seattle last year after operating for just four months — while India ride-hailing giant Ola closed its own food delivery services earlier this month just one year after launching them.