You’ve undoubtedly heard of the ride-sharing giant that’s shaking up transportation worldwide. The name is usually enough to strike envy and contempt into the hearts of taxi corporations everywhere.
With the rollout of new consumer product UberEATS, the team at Uber has thrown its hat into the food delivery space. Because Uber is known for its ability to completely dominate a market, it’s understandable that some restaurateurs may be wondering what UberEATS might mean for their bottom line.
Below are five reasons why your restaurant shouldn’t fear the rise of UberEATS… at least, not yet:
1. They’ve got real competition.
UberEATS is entering a heated space. On-demand food delivery is thought to be one of the most oversaturated areas of consumer products. With companies like GrubHub, Yelp’s Eat24, Postmates, and a bunch of others already on the scene, UberEATS will have to work hard for market share. This is in stark contrast to the first-to-market advantage Uber held with its ride-sharing app.
This space can be tough; it’s worth noting that delivery service SpoonRocket shuttered earlier this year. So if UberEATS seeks to claim more of that delivery pie, it will first need to work out clear differentiators from its competitors.
2. Consumers still prefer to dine out.
Restaurateurs, you’re in luck. According to the Census Bureau, consumers still prefer to dine out quite a bit. This makes perfect sense — there are many elements to the dining experience that just can’t be recreated by ordering in or cooking at home.
It’s important to remember the things that set the restaurant experience apart. As the popularity of platforms like UberEATS increases, be sure to pull diners back with what you do best. Things like live music, bar programs, and tasting menus will help set you apart.
3. They have a pretty specific demographic.
Not everyone will be queuing up to order food like they do a ride. Popular amongst Millennials, Uber does well with working professionals in major cities, many of whom report household incomes of over $70,000, according to data by Vugo, a ride-share advertising company. Use this information to your advantage.
Now that we know who may be ordering, recognize the opportunity to cater to those who may not be. If you are in the fast-casual space, double down on creating high value with low cost options. Happy Hour specials are another great way to keep these customers engaged.
Perhaps the affluent millennial demographic is your niche demographic, too. Then what? Thankfully, this generation is a pretty dynamic group with few brand allegiances, so competing head-to-head is an option. Just remember to emphasize all the additional benefits of dining in an actual restaurant. Showcase any special events, seasonal changes, and beer and wine offerings. This is where “FOMO”-inducing social media and email marketing can shine.
4. Expanding will take time.
Even with Uber’s experience in city routes and driver logistics, expansion will take time. UberEATS is currently available in 10 cities across the U.S.: New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, to be exact.
A major time factor in UberEATS’ new city rollout is partnering with restaurants. Currently, UberEATS lists around 200 restaurants per city, and establishing those relationships takes time — and even more so if you consider all of the other food delivery platforms that may have beaten Uber to the punch.
With this in mind, it may be a while before UberEATS hits your city, but for a company seemingly focused on world domination, it’s a safe bet they’ll get there.
5. You can make UberEATS work for you.
You know the saying: If you can’t beat them, join them. And, depending on your business, that may not be a bad idea. The UberEATS website makes it easy to submit a request for partnership information. That said, we can only hope they don’t end up in hot water for treating their restaurant partners as they’ve done their drivers.
For restaurants that focus on fast-casual dining or would like to see better takeout sales, a partnership may make sense. With a limited amount of restaurants available to users on the platform, the odds are in your favor for being noticed.
If the work Uber has managed to accomplish in ride-sharing is any indication, it’s only a matter of time before UberEATS becomes a force in food delivery. Whether you choose to compete with them for diners’ hard-earned dollars or jump on that UberEATS wave, remember: You have options and there’s really no immediate need to fear the looming giant.