Is Uber poised to give delivery services like Seamless a run for their money? The game-changing driver-on-demand app launched a separate app for its UberEATS food delivery service today in Toronto, reports Wired.
The company first debuted its food delivery service back in Summer 2014 in the Santa Monica, Calif. area; originally called UberFRESH, it provides on-demand meal delivery during lunch hours, with a set menu of options from a handful of different restaurants that rotates daily. The meals generally cost around $9 to $12 and are delivered curbside by the Uber fleet in around 10 to 15 minutes or less. The service is now available in a dozen cities including New York, L.A., San Francisco, Dallas, and Atlanta, and until now users have simply accessed the UberEATS feature from within the regular Uber app.
The new standalone UberEATS app, which is currently only available for iOS, expands significantly on the existing delivery model by offering food from over 100 Toronto restaurants, Uber explains. Delivery is available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., and said delivery is free through the end of the year. (Users who have grown accustomed to the original UberEATS model and simply want a quick lunch can still pick from a short list of "Instant Delivery" options that will be delivered in less than 10 minutes during lunch hours.)
UberEATS certainly has an uphill climb ahead of it if it hopes to make major waves in food delivery. Wired points out that "Food-ordering will be a more competitive business to crack than taxis": While Uber may have pioneered digital ride-sharing, the food delivery space is already awfully crowded with companies like Seamless, GrubHub, Postmates, and DoorDash. And while other services can boast prestigious partnerships — DoorDash recently announced it would begin delivering Dunkin' Donuts, and Postmates is partnered with heavy-hitters Starbucks and Chipotle — Uber does have the benefits of widespread brand recognition and a robust existing fleet of drivers. But as corporate behemoth Amazon embarks on a quest to bring its own restaurant delivery service to 20 U.S. cities, it's clear that the food delivery wars are bound to get even more heated.
Reached for comment, an Uber spokesperson said the company has no plans to expand this app into other cities at this time. However, this public trial of UberEATS could be the first of other similar food delivery initiatives for the company in the new year.