“Uber,” “drones,” and “delivery” are three words we’re going to see a lot of in future. Late last week, word got out that the company has been testing food delivery via drones in San Diego, dropping McDonald’s meals off at set locations.
This week, we learned Uber has also added some fine dining to the drone delivery menu from Juniper & Ivy. The upscale restaurant, which is the brainchild of Richard Blais and Mike Rosen, will make its “In-N-Haute” burger available through Uber Eats for drone delivery once the program kicks off. As the name suggests, item is a $21 take on In-N-Out’s signature “double-double” burger, complete with brioche bun and a fancy take on In-N-Out’s famous “animal-style” sauce.
Once these overpriced burgers hit the air, supplies will reportedly be very limited, with no more than a dozen orders available on any given evening, according to Sandiagoville.com.
For the Uber delivery program, food isn’t dropped via drone directly on your doorstep. Rather, the drone flies it to a set drop-off location where an Uber Eats driver will retrieve it and take it the rest of the way. As my colleague Chris Albrecht pointed out when he wrote about the program last week, “This may seem overly complicated, but Uber says a drone can travel 1.5 miles in 7 minutes versus 21 minutes by ground. So a drone could fly past city congestion to shave off delivery time, even with a pick-up car involved.”
Shaving time off the delivery process will be especially important for expensive burgers that could go cold very quickly while in transit.
The In-N-Haute will be Juniper & Ivy’s only menu item available for drone delivery once Uber’s program kicks off, which will be in either late summer or early fall 2019. No word yet as to whether the restaurant will add more items as Uber’s delivery programs gets its legs.
What will be most interesting about this test is whether people will actually pay $21 (plus delivery fees and tip) to get a high-end burger delivered and, more important, if they’d do it on a regular basis. That’s presumably why Uber’s chosen to test its drone deliveries via two extremes: haute cuisine and fast food. Whichever is more successful in terms of both quality of the food when it finally arrives at your door step as well as overall customer satisfaction with the experience, will tell Uber a lot about where to bet its hand in the upcoming drone delivery race.