Today, Uber Eats announced that the Pickup feature on its on-demand restaurant food app is now available to customers nationwide. According to an article this morning in USA Today, the company has been testing the feature in San Diego, Phoenix, and Austin and has now made it available to all customers in the U.S.
Pickup is just as it sounds: Uber Eats customers order their food through the app as usual. Then, instead of paying a delivery fee and waiting for someone to drop the food at their door, they go to the restaurant and collect it themselves.
While hardly a new concept, having a pickup option for food seems a necessary step when it comes to appealing to certain parts of the population, particularly in dense urban areas where the restaurant of choice might be on the next block and the $5 delivery fee is not justifiable on such an order. Other major on-demand food competitors — Grubhub, DoorDash, and Postmates — already offer the pickup option to customers. Why Uber Eats has waited so long to unveil its own version of pickup remains a mystery, but with both off-premises orders and competition among third-party aggregators increasing, the service needs every tool it can possibly utilize to entice more diners.
Speaking of which: Simultaneous to the nationwide rollout of Pickup, Eats also launched its Uber Eats Pickup Guides Powered by JUMP. The guides, run by Uber’s JUMP electric bike and scooter program, trace the most efficient route between different local restaurants that offer Uber Eats. While definitely more of a gimmick than anything else, it’s at least a nicely designed one. If you’re visiting a city, it’s also a convenient way to scoot around exploring the different food options — all, of course, while staying well contained inside the Uber Ecosystem.
The Pickup Guides are available for Austin, Washington, DC, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, and Sacramento.
These new features come on the heels of news that Uber is laying off 1 percent of its workforce, including some Uber Eats staff. The company continues to struggle with financial losses, and Eats, in particular, isn’t likely to become a profitable business for some time. Alas, a pickup feature and a handy city guide aren’t likely to change those facts.