On Thursday, Uber held an event in San Francisco to highlight changes to its app and services.
“We want to be the operating system for your everyday life,” said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
And what does everyone need to do every day? Eat.
The emphasis on Uber Eats is logical. The company is pinning growth on its food delivery service as growth in its ride-hailing service has stalled.
Here’s some of what Uber has in store for restaurants:
- Uber is bringing Uber Eats into its main app. The company unveiled two new versions of its home screen that incorporate Uber Eats. “You’ll now see our Rides, Eats and future options side-by-side, so you can make the best choice for you,” the company wrote in a blog post. One version places an Uber Eats icon at the bottom of the screen, while another replaces the homescreen map with two icons—one for a hailing ride and the other for getting food. Uber is also incorporating Eats into its expanded rewards program and Uber Pass, which provides free delivery for customers in 10 cities who use rideshare.
- The company also plans to add allergy-friendly filters. These filters go a bit further than some other similar services on the market. Users can select a restaurant based on an allergy and they can communicate with the restaurant about their allergy. "If a restaurant can’t accommodate a request, they can message you and provide an opportunity to order another item that fits your needs." according to a company blog post.
- Losing its exclusive partnership with McDonald’s in July was a blow to Uber Eats, but the company knows it needs these marquee brands. So today it announced an exclusive third-party delivery partnership with Sweetgreen. The announcement came a few days after Sweetgreen revealed it received $150 million in new funding to go towards technologies including a native delivery program.
- Virtual kitchens are another avenue for growth, according to Uber, and the company announced its first big-name virtual kitchen chef. Rachael Ray is partnering with Uber Eats to open a virtual restaurant timed to the launch of her cookbook. The “restaurant” will run for 10 weeks in 10 cities.
- Finally, Uber Eats is introducing a utensil opt-in. “In the coming month, you will now have to request straws, utensils and other additional items when you place your order. Restaurants should no longer include them by default.”