Late last month Uber launched UberEATS in northern Johannesburg. Jo’burg is the first city in Africa to be covered by the food delivery service, joining the likes of London, Sydney, Dubai, Amsterdam and about 30 locations in the US.
UberEATS takes the principle of Uber and applies it to food delivery: an in-demand service outsourced to a collective of vetted third-party service providers, all via an app.
Uber is the concept that irrevocably disrupted the taxi industry. And, with any luck, it should shake up or wake up an arguably complacent food delivery industry.
The app provides you with a list of restaurants in relative proximity to you. From there, click into a place of your choice, peruse its menu and order.
At this point, the app offers you a status list — moving from "order accepted" to "delivered". It also provides a dynamic estimated delivery time. Once your food leaves the restaurant, you can, if you are so inclined, watch the car icon move across the map in your direction in near real time.
There are a surprising number of features packed in to the clear, simple app. First, a cross-menu search means you can find something specific without having to know which restaurant offers it.
Then, with each item selected, you can choose side dishes or related options, and add special instructions.
If you have an Uber account, the UberEATS app grabs your info from there, so set-up is minimal. Payment comes off your bank card, which is loaded onthe app.
Most of the food seems to carry a small markup. A quick comparison of prices against online menus indicates a rough 10% markup is standard. And delivery is a flat fee of R20.
The service runs from 7am-10pm, seven days a week. The average order, according to UberEATS, takes 35 minutes.
For now, my only complaint is that the choice of restaurants and the service footprint are limited. It’s a safe bet that this will increase quickly. But even if it doesn’t (it really will), the user experience is so seamless that I’m inclined to make do.
Let’s review: no yelling your order repeatedly over a crackly phone line; no long-winded explanation of your address; no wondering where your food is 90 minutes later. Yes, please.
Pros: Order and track on the app
Cons: Limited restaurant choices for now, small markup on food
Price: Free to download app, pay per order
For more: ubereats.com/johannesburg
Cool factor: *****
Value for money: ***