Did you know that Uber delivers food?
The popular — and controversial — car hailing app has been branching out beyond cars with features like UberRush, a bike courier service.
You can also use Uber to get freshly prepared meals from local restaurants in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Toronto.
I just moved to New York City and decided to give it a try.
Uber’s food delivery service, which is called UberEats, doesn’t have its own app. If you’re in a city where it operates, UberEats shows up as an option next to all of Uber’s other methods of transportation.
In New York, UberEats is only available from 11 am to 2pm on weekdays, and only for delivery between 14th Street and 59th Street in Manhattan. There’s a new menu every week that gives a couple of options for each day.
Once you slide over to UberEats, you see little fork and knife icons, rather than the cars that are around you when you use Uber to get a ride somewhere.
The button to request a car also changes to let you view the day’s menu. The Business Insider office is in New York City’s Flatiron district, and there were a few people available to make deliveries at peak lunch time.
The menu for the day is small but tasty looking: a brisket burrito from Tres Carnes, a “baz bagel” from The Baz, and some kind of fancy chocolate bar.
Let’s do the brisket burrito.
Yikes! That $US4 delivery fee is pretty steep.
My food will be here in three minutes. Not bad. I’m ready for you, Jeffrey.
I run out of our office and onto 5th Avenue, searching for my food.
Uber gets my location a little bit off, so I have to walk a block up to the pin. Who will get there first?
I somehow miss where the Uber app said that this was a delivery on foot rather than in a car, so I keep looking for a car. So it takes a few extra minutes for me to find Jeffrey. But at least he texts to tell me where he is.
He has an insulated cart to keep all of the food hot.
We don’t talk much, but he’s pleasant and helpful. Like using an Uber car, it’s nice not worrying about cash or a credit card.
It’s time to survey the goods. I get sour cream, spicy salsa and utensils.
Now it’s time to dig in. The burrito is good. I like the brisket and veggies, but it’s a tad dry and could use some kind of sauce. I still eat it within five minutes.
After trying UberEats, I was impressed with the convenience of ordering food from my phone and having it delivered right away. But with a $US4 delivery fee, the burrito itself wasn’t worth paying $US15. It was good, but not that good.
I’m not sure if UberEats will do well. It’s technically been around since last fall, but it just launched in New York at the end of April, and it’s really expensive.
A spokeswoman for UberEats recently told The Wall Street Journal that the reaction “has been overwhelmingly positive,” and the service “could expand to as many as 15 cities in coming months.”
But with Seamless, Instacart, GrubHub, and plenty of others doing on-demand food delivery, Uber is going to have to do better than this to stand out.
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