Uber’s super-fast lunch delivery has shut down in Seattle and other cities across North America.
“Instant Delivery,” part of Uber’s UberEats app, is no longer available to users.
The service launched almost exactly one year ago and was originally baked into Uber’s traditional transportation app. Customers could pick from a handful of rotating lunch dishes from local restaurants, and Uber guaranteed a delivery time of 10 minutes or less because drivers carried prepared meals in temperature-controlled containers.
Uber expanded its food delivery service in Seattle this past March when it debuted a standalone food delivery app that rebranded the lunch program as “Instant Delivery,” while also offering a new full-on restaurant delivery service.
Now, “Instant Delivery” is no longer available on the UberEats app. Instead, Uber is focusing on restaurant delivery.
Here’s a statement from Uber:
“Instant Delivery started as a proof of concept — if we could get a car to you in 5 minutes, what else could we deliver? We started with speed and a limited selection of menu items. Since launching Instant Delivery, UberEATS has significantly expanded from allowing people in downtown to pick 4-5 meals during the lunch hour to offering thousands of items at all hours of the day, and throughout the Puget Sound region. Our focus will remain on bringing customers an even better selection of on-demand meals, delivered as fast as possible.”
We tested “Instant Delivery” last year, and were impressed with the speed but came away wanting a larger menu selection and more flexible hours.
“The fact that we can deliver within 10 minutes — or sometimes five minutes or less — is something that’s fairly unique and novel,” David Rutenberg, UberEats Seattle GM, told us this past October.
In regard to UberEats in Seattle, the company told GeekWire that “in the last six months we’ve dramatically increased the number of communities we serve, the number of restaurants we partner with and the hours we’re available.” It also just rolled out late night delivery.
In August, Uber said it had served restaurant delivery orders to more than 25,000 people since March.
GeekWire tested UberEats in March, and found the service easy to use, though a bit expensive when including the delivery fee.
UberEats is Uber’s attempt to utilize the back-end logistics framework built for its ride-hailing service and take advantage of the vast network of drivers the company already has on the roads.
Uber competes with a flurry of other food delivery services in Seattle like Caviar, Postmates, Munchery, Bitesquad, Peach, Seamless, DoorDash, Lish, GrubHub, Yelp-owned Eat 24, and many others. Even Amazon now offers restaurant delivery, as well as a new corporate lunch service.
Food delivery is an ultra-competitive market that many investors placed big bets on over the past few years, but CBInsights recently noted how “investor interest in the category remains depressed.” Some say it still presents a $210 billion market opportunity.