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Uber launches UberEATS in India, partners with over 200 restaurants

After cabs, Uber has made its foray into the food-delivery business in India. Bhavik Rathod, former GM, South and West, Uber Rides Business, has stepped in as the Head of UberEATS in India

Uber has brought UberEATS to India. The transportation network company has launched its on-demand food delivery app in a few select geographies in Mumbai. Bhavik Rathod, former GM, South and West, Uber Rides Business, has stepped in as the Head of UberEATS in India.

UberEATS started as a small delivery pilot in Los Angeles in the year 2014. It later launched as a separate application in Toronto in December 2015. Today, the stand-alone app is available in 26 countries and 78 cities around the globe, including India.

In India, UberEATS has launched in partnership with more than 200 restaurant partners, including local players like The Bohri Kitchen, Nom Nom, The Bombay Canteen, The Good Wife, Fresh Menu, Le 15, Coffee Di Bella and global names like Krispy Kreme, Chillies, etc.

Speaking about the decision to venture into food-delivery, Bhavik Rathod, Head of UberEATS, India, said, “Uber is a technology company and we try and solve problems that come in logistics. Food is a very interesting space and a massive opportunity. A few reports that I read suggest that it is a 15 billion dollar unorganised delivery market in India alone and that is huge. As a problem solver, I think what Uber is excited about, as a technology company, is finding those hard problems and how we can solve those. What we are well known for, globally and in India also, is moving people from A to B. We can also apply all those learnings and technology to now move food from restaurants to consumers and that is the reason why we are here.”

“Mumbai is home to a booming food industry with a vibrant food culture offering both global and local cuisines to its residents. The introduction of UberEATS in India, with Mumbai as the first city to go live with this food delivery service, is a major step in our global expansion strategy and showcases our commitment to the market. The app brings the perfect pairing of amazing restaurant partners, innovative technology, and the efficient Uber delivery network at the tap of a button to the people in India. We strongly believe that the wide selection of meal choices delivered at Uber speed will open new economic opportunities for delivery partners, enable restaurants to connect with more consumers and make eating effortless, everywhere and for everyone,” he added.

But Uber has always been associated with its ride business. How do they intend to spread the word about UberEATS in India? What will be its marketing strategy?

“There are few avenues available to us to increase our brand presence for UberEATS alone. The fact we had this launch is one piece where we are announcing that we are entering into India, starting with Mumbai, with UberEATS. We also have millions of riders who are already using the app. So if you open the Uber rides app today in the geographic presence that we have something called the eats card that gives you an option to order food so we can also have riders who can become consumers for the UberEATS app and that is a great opportunity for us there. Besides that, working with our restaurant partners, working with our delivery partners and through several other avenues of marketing which are both online and offline are other ways to reach people. The creative marketing that we have done for rides, it is the same team, the same DNA of the organisation that we are going to apply here as well. So we are going to come with the same creativity, the same innovation to make another brand under the same umbrella that everyone will come to love,” said Rathod.

Adding to it, Kartik Murthy, Product Manager, UberEATS Internationalisation and Growth, said, “People come to Uber for a seamless ride, we also want to show them that there is a seamless way to get food. Inside the rider app where we show this eats card, we are not just showing some restaurants here, we are showing targeted restaurants where you can actually get food delivered to where you are going. So if you are going home from the airport after a very long flight, you can get food delivered by the time you reach. So we are being very cognitive about selling the value proposition because we are always thinking about users first so we have to make sure that we are building a product that actually works for them rather than just sending them marketing messages.”

Elaborating on the revenue model, Rathod said, “We do charge a percentage on the order value as a service fee to our restaurant partners. There is a delivery fee that we charge consumers, which is Rs 15 for every order they place but there is no minimum order in place and we have a standard market rate that we charge our delivery partners.”

But a major issue with India is connectivity and bandwidth. How do they plan to take on that challenge?

“Firstly we do have a web presence. So you can just go to the website, if the app is not working. We will continue to add more features to the website as we go along. The second thing that we are doing is all these food images that you see in the app, we will ensure that on slower networks, these don’t slow down your experience. So the images will be based on your network conditions. These are some of the innovations that we are doing to battle the problem of connectivity and bandwidth,” said Murthy.

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