Uber is ready to expand its footprint into the logistics business -- to start with, the cab-hailing company will start delivering food from the nearby restaurants to your doorsteps, with its UberEATS service.
“We partner with the best local restaurants to get you the food you want, delivered faster,” the $66 billion American company said in its local blog.
EATS, which started as a small delivery pilot in Los Angeles, has been rolled out to 58 cities around the globe. “India will be a major step in our regional expansion, following the launch in Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taipei,” the company said.
With the food delivery services, Uber will open itself to a whole host of new competition. Indian startups such as Zomato and Swiggy do the same thing, stitch partnerships with restaurants and deliver the food. It gets a commission on every delivery.
However, the company, which has already invested $1 billion in the country is not worried about competition. “I am incredibly excited about bringing UberEATS to India. This is a significant investment, it spans multiple cities and regions, and it has the potential to change the food industry - with the push of a button - in one of the most vibrant food cultures in the world,” said Allen Penn, Asia Pacific head of UberEATS.
After exiting business in China, India remains the largest market when it comes to potential to scale up operations. HT had reporter earlier that the company plans to invest another $1 billion in the coming months.
UberEATS will be a separate app. The company uses bikes and cycles for delivery of food in cities such as London, and not cabs. In India, the company did not specify the mode of delivery. “We are excited to help everyone discover great food through the perfect pairing of amazing restaurant partners, our technology, and the Uber delivery network,” the blog said.
The company plans to use the same technology that it uses for the transport app, and hopes to make food delivery as easy as ordering a cab.
But, the food delivery business in India is a tricky one. Buyers flock on to the apps to get discounts. That model has seen demise of many food delivery startups in India -- Tiny Owl and Dazo are two of them.
For Uber the biggest hurdle will be to stitch partnerships with the restaurants, and get a fleet of riders who will deliver food. However, the upside is that Uber can use the same rider to deliver what people buy on e-commerce.