Uber brings food delivery to its hometown, San Francisco

The ride-hailing service expands its UberEats feature to the City by the Bay, offering up on-demand gourmet fare.

Dara Kerr
Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
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Uber has launched its UberEats food delivery service in San Francisco. Uber

Uber has waded into competitive territory in San Francisco: on-demand food delivery. On Tuesday, the ride-hailing service launched in the city its UberEats service, which aims to deliver food from some of San Francisco's most trendy restaurants in minutes.

"We are excited to bring San Franciscans the flavors and dishes that define the local food scene -- in 10 minutes or less," said UberEats San Francisco General Manager Susan Alban. "With UberEats, people can experience a variety of flavors from a menu that updates daily, and discover the best local restaurants without waiting in line."

San Francisco-based Uber is best known for competing with taxi and limo services by offering on-demand rides to passengers via a mobile app. But it's increasingly treading into the delivery sector. UberEats is already in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Barcelona and Toronto. Launching in San Francisco puts Uber in a market that's already flush with other popular on-demand food delivery services, like Munchery, Spoonrocket and Grubhub.

Last November, Uber hired away Tom Fallows, the head of Google's same-day delivery service Google Express, leading to speculation that the ride-hailing service was getting more involved in deliveries. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has made his delivery goals clear in the past, saying he's servicing a society that values instant gratification, and that means near-instant delivery.

"Today, we are in the business of delivering cars in five minutes," he said at the LeWeb conference in 2013. "Once you're in the business of delivering cars in five minutes, there are a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes."

Through UberEats, people who use the Uber app can request a meal just as they would a ride. Uber changes the menus daily -- making particular items available from each of the day's participating restaurants. The option to use UberEats appears on the app only when users are in areas covered by the service.

For its launch UberEats is featuring food from a handful of local restaurants, including The Ramen Bar, which has items like chicken udon noodles; Ike's Place, which is known for its massive sub sandwiches; and Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, famous for its croissant muffin hybrids, aka cruffins. Items range from roughly $9 to $15.

For now UberEats San Francisco will be available only in certain parts of the city, such as the Financial District and South of Market neighborhoods. But the company said it plans to expand the service to the entire city in coming months.