Uber Eats today unveiled a newly revamped app and website the delivery service says will improve restaurant discoverability. According to a company blog post, this digital makeover will roll out “over the coming weeks.”
The revamp will include a number of new features, several of which are designed to make the process of finding one’s desired cuisine and restaurant faster. A shortcut toolbar will feature a user’s favorite cuisine types as well as quicker access to grocery stores, pet supply stores, flower shops, and other businesses that are relatively new to the third-party delivery space. These “discoverability” tools also include a feature Eats has dubbed Hidden Gems, which surfaces local restaurants in a user’s neighborhood and recommend restaurants based on past orders.
Enhanced pickup options are the other feature Eats is highlighting with this redesign. The new app and website will include “visual cues” on the map so users can see which nearby restaurants offer pickup options. The map will also show restaurant ratings and local deals. Finally, a group orders feature lets users order from multiple restaurants at the same time through one single order.
Uber said in today’s blog post that after talking to users, the company realized that while ordering, checking out, and tracking meals via its app is simple and streamlined, actually finding a restaurant is a time-consuming task for many. The features announced today aim to minimize the time it takes to find, say, a local pizza spot with a reasonably good reputation and good quality food.
Of course, having to scroll through a gazillion restaurant listings to get dinner delivered is arguably not a real problem. But in the micro-world of third-party delivery services, speed and efficiency reigns, and Eats, Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash now regularly release new features meant to shave a few more seconds off the overall delivery app experience.
Among the major third-party delivery apps, August sales grew 158 percent year-over-year collectively, according to recent data from Second Measure. At the same time, though, the third-party delivery sector remains controversial. In particular, the sky-high commission fees they charge restaurants are seen as nothing short of predatory at a time when permanent restaurant closures are increasing because of the pandemic. Others worry that the restaurant industry meltdown will leave us in a world where the bulk of our restaurant options come from chains. Last time I checked, enhanced discoverability tools and better map features can’t fix that problem.