What’s the Future of Restaurant Delivery in Seattle?

There’s a battle heating up for the future of delivery and it’s happening right here in Seattle.

Many of our current restaurant clients have already signed on to partner with UberEATS (which launched on Wednesday) and Amazon’s Prime Now, the extension to it’s already popular Amazon Prime service. While the latter’s restaurant delivery service is exclusive to Seattle, UberEATS has already launched in 9 other cities.

We expect Amazon Prime Now to expand to more markets (rumblings about Brooklyn or San Francisco are beginning to surface), but two major differences divide the two services: selection and speed.

Admittedly, we haven’t tested UberEATS quite yet, but the service is based on speed of delivery rather than customer choice. The menu is limited to a few selections per day, allowing drivers to stock up on dishes in their temperature-controlled containers and make deliveries while they’re already on the road. This ensures an order gets filled quickly once it’s been placed – or as UberEATS Seattle GM David Rutenberg told Geekwire, it’s “great food at the speed of Uber.”

Prime Now, on the other hand, gives customers access to a restaurant’s entire menu. Most have minimum delivery orders and delivery windows, which may drive instant-gratification hounds away, but the convenience of ordering from a restaurant (along with a 6-pack of beer from Amazon’s warehouse, let’s be honest) and going about the rest of your evening while you wait for your food is a great experience. That being said, when you need a sandwich and there’s an Uber driver right around the corner, it may be an offer too good to pass up.

But why the sudden interest in on-demand food? We posit two reasons: one, Seattle traffic conditions combined with sparse fast-food options may be driving the quick service market to other means, and second, both services exist within familiar ecosystems.

Similar apps and services to both UberEATS and Amazon Prime Now have long existed, but GrubHub and Eat24 are segregated to their own purchasing chains and processes, leaving both the customers and restaurant owners with dedicated platforms. Signing up with Eat24 or GrubHub usually involves a separate ordering process, which doesn’t mesh with cash-strapped restaurateurs. But Uber and Amazon are already being used by millions of people, so the leap to secondary services is much more natural than having to enter and update GrubHub billing information if customers neglect the app for a given period of time. With Uber and Amazon, it’s always ready.

Are you a restaurant owner in Seattle with experience with either of these services? How do you feel about the changing landscape of food delivery services? Drop us a line and share your ideas on the future of food delivery. Menu samples are welcome.

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