What is Uber?
Officially launched in 2011, Uber Technologies Inc. has been taking the world by storm as a multinational mobile ride hail company operating in more than 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the organization develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile ride app, which allows consumers with a smartphone to simply submit a trip request through the app. This request is then routed to Uber drivers who can use their own cars to provide pick-up and drop-off services through customer requests.
In the span of less than 6 years since its official launch, Uber has rapidly grown and expanded to become a worldwide phenomenon and is changing the face of the mobile ride industry by becoming a trendier, better and more flexible option than other forms of transportation (especially in competition with taxi cab companies). Looking ahead to the future, Uber has taken the success of their ride program and begun exploring other possible avenues such as package pick-up and delivery, options to hire a regular taxi driver, and carpooling services, to name a few.
Uber goes to food delivery
Their most successful idea, however, stemmed from offering consumers the option of a food delivery service. In 2014, the company experimented with online food orders and pilot tested a new lunch delivery system called UberFRESH in Santa Monica, California, using the Uber mobile app template. Due to the success of this test, Uber knew they had to expand further and bring this service to consumers worldwide. In April 2015, Uber renamed its UberFRESH program to UberEATS and expanded service worldwide to include Barcelona, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Austin, Houston, Paris and now Toronto, Ontario. UberEATS became its own mobile app, separate from the Uber mobile ride app, for residents in the city of Toronto to use.
Working with over a hundred different restaurants throughout the city, UberEATS offers a broad selection of food from pizza to sushi to burgers. Some of the most popular restaurants for residents to order food from through UberEATS include Peoples Eatery, Sukhothai, P&L Burger, Playa Cabana, A3 Napoli Pizzeria, Fresh, Bobbie Sue’s Mac & Cheese, Pai, and California Sandwiches.
In less than 11 months since launch, UberEATS has grown to deliver over 100,000 meals from over 150 local restaurants. It’s been a huge boost in demand for small businesses; helping connect them with new customers from across the city and ultimately create more jobs.
states Uber on their blog.
UberEATS offers two types of menu choices: you can order from the full menus of different local restaurants or you can order through the Instant Delivery menu offered by UberEATS. The Instant Delivery menu offers three to five special dish choices that can be delivered to your location curbside in 10 minutes or less, versus the full menu option in which food deliveries can take up to 40 minutes, but will be delivered right to your door.
The UberEATS app has recently extended their delivery service hours and is now available from 10am to 10pm, seven days a week throughout the entire city of Toronto. Orders from the Instant Delivery menu, however, are only available Monday through Friday, from 11am to 2pm in select areas in the city. While the price of each meal varies depending on the restaurant, the Instant Delivery menu options are offered through a special or discounted price, typically ranging from $8 to $12. Depending on the meal you order, there may be an additional delivery charge added on as well.
Thoughts on UberEATS
Viewed as the new kid in town, UberEATS can expect to encounter some challenges entering into the food delivery service (especially when competing against other older and more established food delivery service brands such as Just Eat and Seamless). Matthew Kane, a self-described entrepreneur, co-founder and chief ninja at Hedgeable, decided to give the UberEATs app a try for a few weeks, and this is a summary taken from his experience:
"Uber will totally transform the food delivery business [because] on-demand food service is the wave of the future. While it takes me 10 minutes to order a pizza on Seamless, and 45 minutes for it to get delivered, what if I could just tell Uber I have three starving, screaming kids to feed, and I want a pizza in the next three minutes? Game changer. UberEATS will [also] drastically increase productivity in your office. With UberEATS there are only two choices, that’s it. If you don’t like it, tough. UberEATS is [also] built for busy go-getters, not clock watchers. Your lunch will arrive in three minutes and get delivered right to your door. Despite its clear road bumps I still found UberEATS to be an amazing, completely disruptive service, stacked with enormous potential. Because so many things we do on a daily basis rely on transportation, Uber has the ability to completely transform the way we work, live, commute, eat, drink, and socialize."
Ann Brockehurst tested the app too and found it useful:
"The food arrived in 45 minutes, delivered by a nice guy in a giant SUV. Uber says you don’t have to tip but old habits die hard so I gave him five bucks and he looked very surprised. My total bill before tip and after Uber’s $10 introductory discount was $25.59. Now I’m going to be picky here because if you spend this type of money on dinner, you deserve the truth. The salad was in a plastic container stacked on top of another identical plastic container holding the pasta. This had the deleterious effect of warming up the salad and melting some of the cheese. It was still zingily tasty but not as perfect as when served up at the restaurant... Not as good as going to Gusto in person, but almost as quick as and comparable to calling my local Italian. I’ll definitely try UberEATS again. I’d recommend you try it too."
Reddit community tends to agree, that UberEats is a great addition to food delivery services in Toronto:
It's just as good as any delivery company. Maybe even slightly better because you can see where the driver is / know when to put pants on to answer the door,
commented one Redditor, ohkaykay, when asked about his experience using UberEats.
Reddit even came up with a perfect new slogan for UberEATS:
15 bucks for a burrito delivered. I used it once on a hectic day at work where I didn't have time to stand in a line for lunch. It's like uber where you watch the car coming and then just go to the curb and the driver hands you food through the car window like its a reverse drive-thru,
shared Redditor beef-supreme.
Another Redditor, mcriddy, shared his thoughts on UberEats' Instant Delivery option:
There's two services -- instant and regular delivery. Instant is just for lunch is basically a guy carrying around a bunch of one particular meal. It gets there fast, but since the prices have gone up its not really worth it IMO. The regular delivery is basically like JustEat or any other delivery service, and they have a great selection of restaurants.
MHB100390 offered a great tip for anyone wanting to order something through UberEATS:
I've had a so-so experience in my 2 times trying it. If you live in an apartment building, make sure you include good delivery directions with your order. Flustered driver equaled a cold meal. Also, I was told that you don't need to tip as it was built into the fee's associated.
We've researched the satisfaction of UberEats users further on Facebook, and it seems UberEATS is indeed one of the favourite delivery services in Toronto. However, there are people who have expected more from it. Mike Schultz was not as happy with his order:
After several bad experiences, I have decided to delete the App. I initially really enjoyed the Uber Eats app and experience, especially considering how many fantastic local restaurants were listed with you. However, after several horrible experiences, it's just not worth the hassle to continue using the service,
he wrote on UberEats Facebook Page.
On one occasion, the driver forgot to pick up half my order. Calls to Uber went unanswered, from both myself and the restaurant. Ultimately the restaurant had to send the rest of the order by Taxi (oh, the irony), at their own expense.
More frequently, the most frustrating thing is the bait-and-switch on order times. Uber Eats lists restaurants by how long the order is estimated to take. 3 times now I've had to cancel orders in the "16-30 minutes" range because the estimate jumped to over an hour after the restaurant confirmed the order. Even more frustrating is that, at this point, the App will not let you cancel the order, and calls to customer service result in lengthy hold times. This isn't fair to both the customer and the restaurant, who's time and resources are wasted in this process.
All told, not worth the trouble.
Overall reviewers of the UberEATS app have had mixed feelings about their experiences. However, moving forward, all reviewers can conclude that if Uber Technologies can take the feedback and successes they made and are continuing to make with their Uber mobile ride app and apply it to their UberEATS app, there is confidence that we can start to see the rise of a new Uber "kingdom," with rapid growth and the hope and possibility of new Uber-type apps and services coming our way soon.