Online shopping mega-giant Amazon.com will challenge food delivery services like GrubHub Seamless and Caviar when it launches a "local services marketplace" that includes takeout delivery. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Amazon planned to expand its local services marketplace — which currently functions as a Groupon-like "deals" site — in a manner that would "extend Amazon's role as a middleman for third-party vendors." Today, TechCrunch pointed out that Amazon launched takeout delivery service as part of its Amazon Local app last night, but the option was quickly "taken down," with plans to re-launch "soon."
Citing an unnamed source, TechCrunch reports that the takeout service will be similar to its AmazonFresh grocery delivery, with plans to first launch in Seattle, then slowly roll out to other markets. (The blog also hears rumors that "Amazon is also weighing the possibility of acquiring companies to expand in services.") The scale of the delivery service — and the partner restaurants — during launch phase are both as yet unknown, but Kian Salehi, co-founder of Seattle delivery hub Bite Squad, told the Seattle Business Journal that partner restaurants have been mentioning the Amazon launch for several months.
Of course, Amazon Local and the upcoming delivery service isn't the site's first foray into the culinary space: In late 2012, it started selling wine in commission-based partnerships with wineries, and the grocery service AmazonFresh just expanded to Los Angeles earlier this month (with San Francisco next on the calendar). As of this writing, takeout delivery hasn't popped up yet on Seattle's Amazon Local hub: Stay tuned.