Uber is preparing to launch its UberEats service as a standalone food delivery app in 10 US cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Austin, the company has confirmed. It will be the first separate app the company has launched outside its core Uber offering.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the app will launch for both iOS and Android by the end of March, and will represent the first large expansion of the company's ability to act as a delivery service, which has previously been limited to limited services and tests.
The UberEats service has been available since 2014, when it launched in Los Angeles, and has since expanded to a number of cities including Paris and Barcelona. In each participating city, Uber partners with a small number of restaurants every day to offer freshly cooked meals to customers, with drivers delivering meals within just a few minutes.
Uber has been highlighting its food delivery option within its main app since last August, when an update to the UI meant it was offered as an alternative use on par with the firm's car-hailing service in markets where it was available.
The transition to a standalone app makes this push even more profound, and could disrupt the market in several ways. For one, it positions Uber as a legitimate challenger to established services like GrubHub, JustEat and Munchery. While these services have been operating in the food delivery industry for longer, Uber's reputation for speed and convenience could prove a dangerous combination.
The introduction of a standalone UberEats app also paves the way for Uber to expand its services further into new industries in the future, with its courier service UberRush the obvious next choice as an option that is currently siloed within its primary app. Spinning UberRush out into a separate app would enable it to strengthen its position as a logistics firm, and possibly even challenge large players like FedEx and UPS.