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Uber hopes food delivery service drives new business App benefits restaurants, North Jersey diners, it says

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Uber mobile app allows users to track their food delivery in real time.
Uber mobile app allows users to track their food delivery in real time. - ()

Imagine what it would be like to have a pizza delivered right to your bench as you sit alongside the Hoboken Waterfront Walkway on a sunny day.

Uber is aiming to make that reality possible, announcing its new food delivery app, UberEATS, last Thursday at its location in Hoboken.

“You may have used Uber, the ride sharing app, to order a car very quickly and seamlessly,” Prabhdeep Singh, general manager for UberEATS New Jersey, said. “The idea behind UberEATS is to do the same thing using a separate app for food.

“Our mission is to make eating well effortless at any time for anyone.”

The San Francisco-based online transportation and rideshare service launched its newest app-based service in New Jersey last Thursday with over 100 restaurant partners in the Hudson and Bergen County areas thus far.

“It works like this: You tell us where you are and a list of restaurants will quickly pop within your range. You click on the restaurant, look through the menu, order your food and, with one click or tap, your credit card is loaded onto the app,” Singh said. “Then, as soon as you click ‘order,’ the restaurant receives a ping, accepts the order and, when it is ready, will ping Uber to dispatch a car or a bike courier to pick up the food and deliver it to you. Users also can track the food coming to them in real time.”

Customers pay a flat fee of $4.99 per delivery, while restaurant partners pay an undisclosed fee to UberEATS for their services.

What started as an experiment in Toronto in 2015 quickly expanded into cities such as Los Angeles and New York City last year. Today, UberEATS is in more than 66 cities in more than 20 countries and has more than 30,000 restaurant partners.

“Our differentiator is that we can tap into our existing Uber network to make sure that the delivery is faster and more transparent than our competitors,” Craig Ewer, spokesperson for Uber New Jersey, said.

Numerous restaurants, including Bareburger, Café Sheeroo and Silli Point Indian Fusion in Bergen County and Just BeClaws, The Hamilton Inn and Razza Pizza Artigianale in Hudson County, were eager to sign up early.

“Razza is proud to partner with UberEATS as our exclusive delivery service,” Dan Richer, owner of Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City, said. “Uber has logistics down to a science and I am super-confident in their ability to provide the same level of care in delivering our food as we provide our guests in-house."

Richer said Razza Pizza Artigianale had not considered delivering before it was approached by UberEATS due to the headaches that typically come with issues of liability and communication.

“Our restaurant is very small, and we are not set up as a counter service restaurant where we have somebody constantly manning a telephone,” Richer said. “To have a company like Uber take care of all of that for us is really just found money.”

The ability to control the flow of business and menu items when using UberEATS sealed the deal, Richer said.

“We can turn any aspect of UberEATS off when we are incredibly busy and push it when we are not,” he said. “The control aspect is crucial.”

UberEATS is eager to expand business for restaurants throughout the state by providing or increasing its delivery radius and creating awareness by marketing to new customers.

“Globally, our restaurants can deliver food within an average of 14 minutes, which is very fast when it comes to food delivery service,” Singh said. “A lot of that has to do with our ability to understand the technology and logistics it takes to get food from point A to point B.”

New Jersey alone has more than 13,000 residents who drive for Uber. It was not disclosed how many of them also will be participating with UberEATS.

“This is another great way for drivers to earn flexibly through the platform,” Ewer said.

Singh said that, although UberEATS plans to rapidly expand throughout the state, the company will only continue to partner with a diverse mix of restaurants in areas where it makes strategic sense to do so.

“We will not enter an area unless we know that we can still be reliable and fast,” he said.

E-mail to: megf@njbiz.com

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