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UberEats Comes to San Francisco, Where Food Delivery Is Hot

UberEats is the company's first real try at something besides ridesharing.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Uber is bringing its food delivery experiment, called UberEats, to San Francisco, land of abundant munchie-apps. Users will be able to order limited specialty menu items from their favorite local bougie restaurants like Blue Bottle Coffee, The Ramen Bar, Ike’s Place and Craftsmen & Wolves for a $3 flat delivery fee.

The San Francisco food delivery space is competitive, with Sprig and SpoonRocket offering fifteen minute wait times by making their own food and DoorDash and Postmates delivering meals from top restaurants. Uber hopes to rival them all by combining the best of each — quick ten-minute delivery time from the top restaurants.

To do so, it’s arranging deals with cafés and eateries. Users will choose from a few select items instead of the full menu. It’s launching the option only in the Financial District and South of Market (SOMA) for now, with plans to expand later.

Uber drivers — from the same fleet that carries passengers around the city — will deliver the food. We’ll learn more about how UberEats’ operations work tonight at a special event the company is hosting to celebrate the launch.

Uber has ambitions to change the nature of last-mile delivery, using its huge supply of drivers to carry food, packages and retail goods in addition to schlepping people. Although the company is in discussions with a wide range of small and large retailers, its UberEats program is the most developed of its delivery partnerships, now operating in six markets — San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Barcelona and Toronto.

It’s the company’s biggest experiment thus far in becoming more than just a rideshare company. As noted by a Cowen analyst this morning, Uber has started featuring the UberEats icon at the top of the app next to its driving icon.

In other words, it’s taking food delivery seriously.

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