Monday, 30th October 2017

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Uber-hot food at your doorstep

App-cab aggregator Uber will soon go to town with its food delivery app.

By Anasuya Basu in Calcutta
  • Published 30.03.18

Calcutta: App-cab aggregator Uber will soon go to town with its food delivery app.

With over 200 restaurants on board, Uber Eats will initially service parts of the city before spreading out.

"We will go live in places where there is a large youth population or areas with a number of restaurants. It will take two to three months to cover the entire city," said Bhavik Rathod, the head of Uber Eats India.

Uber Eats has tied up with such restaurants as Momo I Am, Wise Owl, Rahmania and Aminia and confectioner Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick.

Users will have to download the Uber Eats app. "All our riders will get an alert when we launch Uber Eats in the city," Rathod said.

Like other food-delivery apps, Uber Eats will offer customers a choice of restaurants - complete with ratings and menu - depending on the location from where the app is being accessed, along with an estimated time of arrival. "We are now delivering meals within 32 minutes of placing the order. In some cities, it is close to 30 minutes," Rathod said.

Once an order is placed, the user will be able to track it real time.

What sets Uber Eats apart is that it allows customers to schedule a meal. "If you want to have your dinner at 10, you can schedule it an hour or even a week ahead," Rathod said.

Uber Eats also offers customised drop-off within a certain radius. "Say you are in a park and you want your meal delivered at your home, you can just feed in the drop-off address and it will reach there," an Uber Eats official said.

Other features include tailored restaurant recommendations, where machine learning is used to suggest your favourite eatery or a dish that you order often. There will be a filter for the right food such as vegetarian or quick bites.

After delivery, the user can rate the restaurant and also each item. Other food delivery apps ask customers to rate the restaurant and the delivery.

"We will roll out a restaurant manager app soon and feed it with real-time data such as consumer feedback on meals," Rathod said.

Uber Eats entered the Indian market with Mumbai in May 2017 and is now present in 11 cities, including Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Jaipur. "We are launching every month in a new city," Rathod said.

Worldwide, Uber Eats is in over 200 cities across 37 countries with over 12,000 restaurant partners. Uber Eats hopes to cash in on the Indian market, which according to Rathod is still nascent. "There is a lot of unmet demand and India is just getting started. We are growing exponentially in the food delivery space, we have experienced double digit and also triple digit growth."

Asked how Uber Eats will compete with established players like Swiggy, Zomato Order and Food Panda, Rathod said: "We launched late but we already exist in the consumer space. Uber Eats will resonate with the Uber brand and will have the feel of the Uber app and will have the Uber DNA. We have a thorough knowledge of the city and a lot of data."

The market is expanding and there has been a 150 per cent annual growth in the over 20-billion dollar food delivery industry, organised and unorganised.