As we’ve mentioned before, tech-driven food delivery is quickly becoming a competitive marketplace on a national scale. At the forefront is Los Angeles, a city that, despite its surplus of cars, loves to have food brought to its doorstep.
In the past year or so, big names like Amazon Prime Now, Caviar and Postmates have been competing for a slice of the pie, but the biggest entrant may have just dropped: the stand-alone UberEats app, which launched yesterday on the Westside. Yes, the same company that shuttles you home after a night at the bar or can now pick you up at LAX is seeking to apply its army of drivers to the world of restaurant delivery.
But doesn’t Uber already deliver food? It does, but it’s mostly in the form of what the company now refers to as “UberEats Instant,” which involves drivers toting around coolers of Bay Cities subs or other premade items and making dropoffs around town. That’s why your sandwich can arrive, as the company claims, in around 10 to 15 minutes during peak lunch hours.
The full version first launched in Toronto late last year, although Los Angeles is the first U.S. city to see the full rollout. Some key differences between old and new UberEats app: Delivery is now available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (UberEats Instant was available only during certain lunch and dinner hours) and offers a complete menu from the featured restaurant, rather than just select items. Uber estimates that these delivers will average around 30 to 45 minutes, rather than 10 minutes, since the food will be picked up at the restaurant by a food-handling-certified driver as it's ordered. Users will still have the option of "UberEats Instant," with which they can order premade options from restaurants if they don't want to wait.
As with the original Uber app, the UberEats app will feature what it calls “transparent pricing,” which means that all fees are bundled into menu prices and a $5 flat rate will be charged for each delivery, regardless of the order total or distance. “There is no need to tip the driver as it’s already included, but it's ultimately up to the customer,” says UberEats Los Angeles general manager Allen Narcisse. “The app shows an all-inclusive fee that makes the final total clear to the user.”
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Other design touches include high-end food photography of menu items and in-app suggestions on what to order, perks that have now become standard on top-tier food delivery apps.
The real question, though: What restaurants can you expect to find on the app? Currently you’ll find a limited selection of Westside restaurants including Phorage, Simpang Asia, Fundamental L.A., Ramen Yamadaya, Fala Bar, Taco Love Venice, Sotto and DK’s Donuts. The list of available options is automatically generated by your location, which means selection will vary. As the delivery range expands citywide, you can expect more additions, including full restaurant menu options from places such as Starry Kitchen.
For those want to give the new app a test spin, there’s an added bonus: UberEats is currently offering a promo discount of 50 percent (up to $10) off your first order.
Editor's note: Postmates Plus, a recently launched extension of the Postmates app, is offering a $2.99 delivery rate for orders at select "preferred merchants" through their app. It's important to note, however, that all Postmates orders do come with an added 9% service fee.