Hungry office workers in central London have for years been spoiled for choice when it comes to grabbing lunch or dinner, with a vast array of eateries never more than a short walk away. In recent years, meal delivery services like Deliveroo have started to spring up, too, though competition in that particular sector looks like it’s about to get a whole lot more intense.
Why? Because on Thursday Uber launched its own meal-delivery service in central London.
The company will use a network of motorbike and bicycle couriers for its new UberEats service in the city, delivering ready-to-eat dishes from around 150 local restaurants.
Customers can order from the standalone UberEats app between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. and there’s no minimum order.
In a bid to draw people away from competing services, or simply to persuade new users to place their first order, Uber is starting off by charging the princely sum of nothing for delivery, and promises to get your food to you within 30 minutes. And if it fails? You’ll be offered up to £20 off your next order.
The app is a breeze to use: Simply open it, choose from the list of available restaurants (determined by your location), explore the menu, select a dish, and place your order.
UberEats started out two years ago in Santa Monica (as UberFresh) before rolling into San Francisco, New York, LA, Chicago, and Austin. Further expansion has taken the service to cities such as Atlanta and Houston, and, outside of the U.S., Toronto, Melbourne, Paris, and now London. The standalone UberEats app for iOS and Android landed in March 2016.
The San Francisco company will be hoping UberEats London enjoys a smoother ride than its more famous car-booking service, which since its launch there in 2012 has faced repeated protests by drivers of the city’s iconic black cabs.
Just like taxi drivers in a number of other countries around the world, London’s cabbies see Uber as a threat to their industry and believe the service should be subject to the same rules and regulations.