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Test-Driving UberEATS: Lunch Delivery in 5 Minutes

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 8/10/2015 Jessica Biber

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For the past few years, Uber has delivered drivers to my door in a matter of minutes. Today, it delivered something even better: food.
UberEats launched in Seattle Wednesday with off-the-charts demand, expanding the popular car service app to deliver lunches with the same efficiency. App users simply select the UberEats icon within the Uber app, scroll through the day's menu options, and watch in real-time as an Uber vehicle carrying the lunches navigates to their door.
It's efficient. It's cheap. It just might revolutionize food delivery.
Launch day lunch options included a Caribbean Roast Sandwich from Paseo, the number one sandwich shop in Seattle on Yelp; a Trio of Salads from Volunteer Park Café, made by the chef of one of Eater's hottest new restaurants; and Drunken Chicken from Monsoon, rated one of Zagat's best Vietnamese restaurants.
I ordered the Drunken Chicken to warm my rain-drenched Seattle bones, and within five minutes, there was an Uber with a front seat full of insulated food bags carrying both hot and cold lunches. The driver handed me my lunch -- and, bonus, a fresh-baked cookie from Macrina Bakery -- before driving off to fulfill the next order.
Pros: efficiency and cost. With the driver arriving in only five minutes, I spent less time ordering and receiving lunch than I would buying a cup of coffee - and certainly less time than I would with other food delivery apps, which can take a full hour. And with a flat cost for food, UberEATS was massively cheaper than other apps that tack on surging delivery charges, services fees and tips.
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Cons, depending on how you look at them: curbside delivery and limited choices. While it could be a good excuse to get some fresh air, UberEATS will require you to throw on some shoes and meet your driver outside your building instead of inside. And, although UberEATS offers a few different meal types and changes its options daily, there were ultimately just three choices. Personally, I kind of liked how it showed me foods that might not be my normal go-to's, but it's not the app to use if you want unlimited options from every restaurant in your city. For now, Uber says that's how they plan to keep it, but they are constantly evaluating their options.
So far, UberEATS is available in several other cities such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Austin. David Rutenberg, general manager of UberEATS Seattle, said, "Seattle has a vibrant food community, and we're thrilled to be able to help some of the best restaurants here connect with new and existing customers in a totally new way. We think this will be a game-changer for our fellow Seattleites, and for the restaurants we're privileged to call our partners."
As I write this, full of crispy drunken chicken, yu choy and rice, with 55 minutes left in my lunch hour that I would've normally spent making food, picking up food or waiting on other delivery services, I plan to check out UberEATS again for lunch tomorrow. It's one more area of my life that Uber has made more efficient, seamless and enjoyable.

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