Technology is set to transform the restaurant and food delivery business.
That’s the ultimate conclusion when Arabian Business sat down with Jason Droege, head of Uber Everything at Uber Technologies.
The “everything” in that job title, by the way, includes UberEats, one of the fastest growing food delivery operations in the world. “The job was to figure out what else Uber can do, other than move people,” says Droege, speaking about his job description when he started just over four years ago.
“Food was the first one to really hit and it hit pretty big. Our CEO said a couple of weeks ago that he thinks we’re going to be the biggest food delivery player in the world this year.”
In just over two years – 12 months after its first launch in Toronto in December 2015 – UberEats has grown to offering a food delivery service in 231 cities in 35 countries. The goal, he says, is a simple one.
“Our business is to drive as much demand to restaurants as possible, which means that we have to have lowest cost delivery possible, which means we have to be working with our restaurant partners to provide the lowest cost of food possible at the highest possible quality. Our entire job is to make sure that they get as much business as possible and we’re a software company so we want as much scale as we can get,” he says.
Margins are “tight”, Droege admits, but says UberEats looks at itself as “a logistics business that offers a food experience”.
“Our bet has always been that there is an increase in service quality; there’s an increased number of restaurants that you can get delivery from; and that there’s increased transparency in terms of the ordering experience. The reason why I’m here is because our investments here have been fabulous. We’ve grown the [UberEats] market here 200 percent year over year (with over 2,000 restaurants).”
Offering restaurants lower margins is not its main play, however; it’s the technology that Uber can offer restaurants. Much like the major social media companies, UberEats has focused its energy on building data about what customers like, where people like to eat and what’s the overriding preferences to a particular area.
It can lead to some interesting feedback for restaurant owners, says Droege. “We know what people are ordering across cities, within the city, across time of day and location. We can use that data to provide restaurants with insights,” he says.
“Many of the restaurants who have done this have seen an increased delivery business over their in-store existing delivery business. It’s where we think the market’s going, which is how data and the insights from those users has helped restauranteurs further increase their business.”
He says one pop-up restaurant, Project P, is being launched in Dubai purely based on using UberEats data. “A restaurant group here wanted a pizza concept and came to us and said, ‘Hey what do you think?’. We said we have data that we can share with you to instruct how you craft your pricing, the type of pizza toppings or whatever. It will launch in the coming weeks.” aFor all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.