If you're impatient and hungry, going out to dinner can be frustrating. You have to sift through reviews, choose a restaurant, wait for a table, wait for a server to take your order and then wait some more for your meal.
Uber Eats understands your frustration and is trying out a new feature that may transform your dining experience. Right now, Uber Eats can deliver food to you or have it ready for pickup.
But its new Dine-in option could be a game-changer for the company and give it new rivals. We'll tell you how the new feature works and how Uber Eats makes money from the service.
How Uber Eats Dine-in works
In select cities such as Austin, Dallas, Phoenix and San Diego, you open your Uber Eats app and find the usual pickup and delivery options. But now there is the added Dine-in option.
After choosing where you would like to eat, you can peruse the menu. When you've decided what you want, either click ASAP or set a time.
Next, you'll see how long it will take to prepare your meal, the distance to the restaurant, your cost and even the restaurant's rating. When you're meal is almost ready, you will be notified. Then, just drive to the restaurant and your food is ready to be served as soon as you sit down. You can even tip the waitstaff on the Uber Eats app.
Unlike delivery and pickup options, there are no delivery or service fees and all the tips go to the waitstaff. So what's in it for Uber Eats?
A spokesperson for the company told Eater that restaurants are charged a fee, which "differs by market and restaurant but is typically lower than the fee they pay for delivery."
For Uber Eats, not having to pay delivery drivers helps it trim its overhead (though that point may be moot if Uber Eats goes ahead with its plans to use drones to deliver in urban areas).
New food delivery rivals may show up
Currently, Uber Eats' main rivals in the pickup and delivery market are GrubHub, DoorDash and Postmates. If Uber Eats decides to widen its scope to cover the entire dining experience, it will be going against some well-established companies.
According to TechCrunch, Uber Eats' direct competition is Allset, which offers the same services as Dine-in. Allset has been operating for four years.
Uber Eats could also be throwing down the gauntlet to restaurant reservation apps such as OpenTable, Yelp and Resy. After all, Dine-in already allows users to pick a time when they want their meals ready.
But Allset doesn't seem too intimidated by Uber Eats' Dine-in feature.
“I think that more delivery players will be tapping into dine-in space. It’s all about convenience and time-saving. But it’s going to be very difficult for [Uber Eats], given their focus on delivery,” Allset CEO Stas Matviyenko told TechCrunch.
In other words, Uber Eats may be trying to do more and end up doing nothing very well. If you live in a city where Uber Eats is testing its Dine-in model, let us know about your experiences by leaving a comment below.
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