Uber launches food de­liv­ery in city

Rideshare com­pany starts ser­vice from 100 lo­cal restau­rants for $4.99 fee

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Sarah Mee­han smee­han@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/sarahvmee­han

Ride or dine — that’s Uber’s new motto in Bal­ti­more.

The rideshare com­pany launched its stand-alone food de­liv­ery ser­vice, UberEATS, in Bal­ti­more on Thurs­day. The app al­lows cus­tomers to or­der take­out from about 100 lo­cal restau­rants, with cui­sine that varies from the smoked meats of Di­nosaur Bar-B-Que to the Afghan dishes of The Hel­mand.

UberEATS joins a crowded mar­ket in which hun­gry cus­tomers have a grow­ing list of ser­vices that will de­liver food to their doors. Home-grown com­pa­nies such as Bal­ti­more-based OrderUp and other third­party play­ers like Ama­zon, GrubHub and Eat24 con­tinue to grow lo­cally.

“It’s def­i­nitely a re­ally com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place,” said Matt Alexan­der, OrderUp’s gen­eral man­ager for Greater Mary­land. “This is the most crowded space that I’ve seen.”

UberEATS de­buted in Los Angeles in 2014 and is now avail­able in more than 20 U.S. cities. Bal­ti­more is one of five cities where the ser­vice launched this week; other new mar­kets are Las Ve­gas, Nashville, Tenn., Stam­ford, Conn., and Tampa, Fla.

Brian Gelb, gen­eral man­ager for UberEATS Bal­ti­more, said it made sense for Uber to add food de­liv­ery in Bal­ti­more be­cause the city’s bustling restau­rant scene paired well with the com­pany’s al­ready strong pres­ence here.

“It’s been a great city to work with,” Gelb said. “We love the feel of the city. Bal­ti­more has an amaz­ing food scene, lots of great lo­cal restau­rants.”

Al­though UberEATS is a sep­a­rate app from Uber, Uber driv­ers have the op­tion to drive for ei­ther ser­vice. UberEATS has less strin­gent ve­hi­cle re­quire­ments, mean­ing that driv­ers with older mod­els or two-door cars could de­liver for UberEATS even if they are not el­i­gi­ble to drive for Uber. UberEATS also will of­fer bike de­liv­ery in Bal­ti­more.

UberEATS’ de­liv­ery ra­dius ex­tends as far south as Lo­cust Point, north to Loy­ola Univer­sity Mary­land, west to Druid Hill Park and east to Dun­dalk.

The av­er­age de­liv­ery time in other cities where UberEATS op­er­ates is about 35 min­utes, Gelb said.

He said speed, com­bined with an es­tab­lished trans­porta­tion net­work and low de­liv­ery fees, will give UberEATS an edge over its lo­cal com­peti­tors.

UberEATS charges a flat $4.99 de­liv­ery fee in ad­di­tion to the cost of the meal. And unlike Uber, there’s no surge pric­ing.

“We re­ally be­lieve that charg­ing a low de­liv­ery fee to the con­sumer is the right way to go,” Gelb said.

De­spite the height­ened com­pe­ti­tion, Alexan­der does not ex­pect UberEATS to eat into OrderUp’s busi­ness.

“I don’t re­ally an­tic­i­pate it hav­ing much of an im­pact on who we are and what we do,” he said. “I think that a large por­tion of the com­mu­nity in Bal­ti­more re­ally res­onates with OrderUp just be­cause we started in Bal­ti­more.”

OrderUp, which was ac­quired by Groupon Inc. in July, did not see much of a hit when Ama­zon be­gan of­fer­ing food de­liv­ery in Bal­ti­more through Prime Nowin De­cem­ber, Alexan­der said.

Alexan­der said the va­ri­ety that OrderUp of­fers — more than 500 restau­rants in Bal­ti­more, Tow­son and Ti­mo­nium — will help the lo­cal com­pany re­main suc­cess­ful as com­peti­tors such as UberEATS move into the mar­ket.

Some of the restau­rants of­fer­ing de­liv­ery through UberEATS in­clude Water for Cho­co­late, The Hel­mand, Fai­d­ley’s Seafood, Aldo’s Ristorante and Dan­ger­ously De­li­cious Pies. And more could come on board.

UberEATS charges restau­rants to par­tic­i­pate in its de­liv­ery ser­vices. Geld de­clined to dis­close the cost.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.