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UberEATS launches new insights service to compete in ‘crowded marketplace’

The launch comes at a time of fierce criticism directed towards the company’s parent, Uber

Gulf News

DUBAI

UberEATS, the food delivery division of Uber Technologies Inc, has launched a brand new service aimed at providing data to its restaurant partners, amid multiple controversies surrounding its parent company.

The new technology, called Restaurant Manager, launched worldwide on March 2 for all restaurant partners, and provides detailed analytics and benchmarks, such as what an establishment’s most popular foods is, how quick their kitchen is to prepare the food compared to competitors, and so on.

“It’s quite a crowded marketplace, with lots of options for restaurants, in terms of delivery services, so our goal is not to build the same thing as many others, but instead build a product and business that is founded on technology and data,” Palaniappan said.

He doesn’t expect UberEATS’ collaboration with its partners to end there, either, explaining that the company’s insights and analytics will become ever more nuanced.

“Imagine if UberEATS could tell you that a particular menu item was trending in your neighbourhood, and it would be a good idea for you, the restaurant, to make it. Or if we told you that there’s a big football match taking place and certain foods will be more popular. We can help optimise your menu.”

When asked how many vendors he hoped this service would add to the service, Palaniappan declined to say. He also refused to provide a target number for how many restaurants UberEATS hoped to add by the end of 2017.

The company currently has around 500 partners in Dubai, who each pay a fee to UberEATS to use its delivery services. The startup has seen around “2x growth in the last two months,” according to Palaniappan.

The senior executive also declined to specify which country would be the next to receive UberEATS, although he did hint that Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt were all of interest.

Currently, the UAE is the only country in the Middle East and North Africa with access to the service.

UberEATS is a subsidiary of Uber, which has garnered significant attention in the past month as it faces a new lawsuit from Google, issues surrounding corporate culture, and a customer campaigns against it that reportedly led to approximately 200,000 accounts being deleted.

“It’s been a challenging couple of weeks for us,” said Jambu Palaniappan, Head of UberEATS in Europe, Middle East and Africa, in an interview with Gulf News on Monday.

“We’ve had to reflect a lot about who we are, and who we want to be. We’ve had to drastically take stock of those things,” he added.

Before taking charge at UberEATS, Palaniappan ran Uber’s ride-hailing business in the Middle East and Africa for three years.

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