Uber launches meal delivery service in Dubai

UberEats will aims to deliver food in 30 minutes across the emirate
Uber launches meal delivery service in Dubai
By Neil Halligan
Wed 28 Sep 2016 09:16 AM

Uber will launch is meal delivery service on Thursday in Dubai, as it prepares to take on local rivals in the emirate.

Starting at lunchtime on Thursday, Dubai residents will be able download the UberEats app and order from over 200 restaurants that are currently listed on the platform.

Delivery will be available through the app seven days a week, from 11am-11pm and till 5am over the weekend, starting this Friday.

The variety of restaurants includes Gustronomy, Taqado, BurgerFuel, The Hummingbird Bakery, Sushi Art and Pinza, which will be designing an exclusive 'Uber Pizza' to celebrate the launch.  ‘Eaters’ can get AED50 off their first order with the code DubaiEATS.

Powered by the Uber technology that provides the taxi service, UberEats' regional head said the food delivery service will aim to become as efficient as its ride-sharing counterpart, with a target delivery time of 30 minutes.

"In London and Paris right now we're getting very close to 30 minute delivery time. I think that's the ultimate goal. We're not going to be there at the start," Jambu Palaniappan, regional general manager Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, told Arabian Business.

"It's obviously a new business and one we're working to learn, particularly in Dubai with its traffic. Thirty minutes is our goal and I'm hoping we'll get there very soon. At the start, as we're testing the product, we'll ask people to bear with us as we learn the experience together and it will continually improve. 

"In the same way with the car, it took ten or 12 minutes, and now it's down to four or five minutes in Dubai. We'll see the efficiency of scale with the delivery business as well."

Like the Uber service, Jambu said payment will initially be by credit card, but revealed there are plans to introduce cash in the near future.

"It won't [be cash] at the start but we will be making sure that it's available very soon. It's obviously a new product and one where we want to make sure there is trust, so cash won't be available from the start but we're hoping to make it available as soon as possible," he said.

The delivery service will also be free of charge and will have no minimum spend.

"One of the great benefits of UberEats for customers is that it's accessible for everyone - there's no minimum spend and delivery is currently free in most markets, including Dubai at launch.

"You won't have to top up your order with things you don't really want to achieve an artificial minimum order. Even if all you want is one cupcake, you can order that on UberEats."

Jambu said the company has signed up over 200 restaurants in the city for UberEats and while it's a long way short of the 5,500 restaurants that currently deliver in the emirate, he described the interest from food outlets as being "phenomenal".

"Just in a couple of weeks, we already have over 200 restaurants that have signed up, so the interest from restaurants is phenomenal. There's a lot of inbound enquires from restaurants. That many restaurants that quickly is quite an accomplishment but we're just getting started," he said.

While the UberEats service will be delivered through its conventional motorbikes, Jambu didn't rule out the company offering the UberChopper as part of a luxury food delivery service in the future - provided it made financial sense.

"I think UberChopper is a really fun and interesting product, particularly in the Middle East. For us we're always focused on, particularly with the start up of a business, how can we bring the most efficiency to the supply chain and bring the most efficient logistics platform into the business," he said.

"Our take right now is that two-wheel is the best way to do that in Dubai, but certainly other options will come up in the future. Chopper delivery is certainly an interesting idea, and we would have to look at the economics to see if it makes sense, but we will stick with two wheel for now."

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