updated 05:10 pm EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Test taking place in Santa Monica, offers daily lunch item in three-hour window
Ride share service Uber is apparently looking to expand into some other functions, as the company is testing a service dubbed UberFresh starting today. The program is attempting to deliver lunch to people in a short time frame, utilizing a menu specific to the area being tested. The service is only being offered for a limited time, but a successful test could mean the program would be expanded further.
Uber is testing out UberFresh in Santa Monica until September 5, the the first lunch deliveries kicking off today. Much like requesting a pick up in the app, those within the city can select request a lunch within the app and select a meeting point with a driver. However, customers will still need to go outside to pick up the food, as Uber drivers aren't taking the meals into office buildings or up to doorsteps.
The service is being tested at a fixed price of $12 for each meal, a price that doesn't include a tip for the driver. However, Uber states that a tip isn't needed, as it recommends a five-star rating instead. Lunch deliveries are only being made from 11:30am to 2:30pm, excluding weekends and holidays. A fixed daily menu of soup, a sandwich or a salad are being offered, with a bonus cookie with every meal. Food is being offered from Tender Greens, 41 Ocean, Day Cities Italian Deli & Bakery and Cookie Good for the first week.
Uber is trying the new service as it sees an area of opportunity. While traditional lunch orders can take up to an hour to be delivered, Uber is attempting to deliver "healthy, fresh food in about 10 minutes." Even when compared to the hassles of going out to eat, the company thinks it can provide a service that is virtually on-demand. In the announcement, the company didn't state how the service is being carried out, but with fixed menu items the process is probably intentionally streamlined to send out a driver immediately once an order comes in.
Uber also started piloting another service in Washington DC this month that allows users to request products deliveries from a list of more than 100 items. The service, Uber Corner Store, started on August 19.