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Uber looks set to eat into global meal delivery market with major expansion

Already operating its meal delivery service in 36 cities in six countries, Uber is reportedly about to make its biggest push yet into the business with plans for at least 31 launches across 24 countries.

Job listings spotted by Reuters this week suggest major expansion plans for UberEats as the company seeks to diversify its business beyond ride hailing.

In a move certain to cause concern among rival meal delivery outfits in what has become a highly competitive business in recent years, UberEats looks set to launch soon in 16 cities across 12 countries in Europe, including Manchester in England and Madrid in Spain, and in 11 cities across Asia, among them Tokyo and Hong Kong. Dubai, Mexico City, and two cities in South Africa are also being targeted in UberEats’ next phase of expansion.

According to Reuters, job ads on Uber and a number of recruitment sites indicate that the San Francisco-based company is looking to fill a range of positions for UberEats, including bike couriers and general managers, and also posts in sales and marketing.

UberEats boss for Europe, Jambu Palaniappan, recently hinted at Uber’s meal delivery plans when he told the news agency of its “aggressive expansion roadmap” that included rollouts in multiple “cities and countries this year.”

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UberEats partners with popular local restaurants with the aim of delivering orders to hungry customers within 30 minutes, though in some cities “Instant Delivery” promises a super-quick delivery service of just 10 minutes. Customers use the app to select an eatery and then the desired meal, and in jut a few taps the food will be on its way. You can even track your order as it makes its way to your address. In the U.S., Uber adds a $5 delivery fee to the cost of the meal.

UberEats began life in Santa Monica (as UberFresh) in 2014 before heading to San Francisco, New York, LA, Chicago, and Austin. Initial overseas expansion took it to cities such as Melbourne, Paris, and London. Early on, the service worked as part of the main Uber app, but happy that meal delivery was a viable revenue generator for the company, Uber launched a standalone UberEats app for iOS and Android in March 2016.

Already a tight market, Uber’s expansion is set to ramp up the pressure on smaller businesses in the same game. Another giant, Amazon, is also working to expand its own meal delivery service that it launched in September 2015.