Ride-sharing giant Uber is taking a bite of Pittsburgh’s food scene as it launches its app Uber Eats on Thursday.
The food delivery app is already in 80 cities across 30 countries and faces competition from similar apps like Grubhub and Postmates.
However, Uber representatives said their app is better.
“We had the expertise in logistics and moving people and now we’re applying it to food, and we do expect to do for the food delivery space to do exactly what we did for the transportation industry previously,” said Casey Verkamp.
Verkamp is the general manager for Uber Eats in Pennsylvania. Uber rolled out the app in Boston and Montreal this week and Mumbai, India, last week. But she said Pittsburgh has been high on the company’s list for quite some time.
“This is a city on the move and it has an amazing nationally recognized food scene and we’re so excited to bring a delivery scene to match that,” said Verkamp.
Uber representatives said it took just two months to complete the rollout by finding partner restaurants and recruiting delivery drivers from the company’s current roster of regular Uber drivers.
Drivers will be able to handle food deliveries and human transportation by toggling between two functionalities on their driver app.
Customers using Uber Eats will pay a $4.99 flat fee for delivery without any other surcharges or fees beyond the cost the restaurant charges for the food. Tips are optional.
“The average delivery time for Uber Eats globally is about 35 minutes, which is pretty unparalleled for delivery services,” said Verkamp.
The hot dog restaurant Franktuary is one of the first places to partner with Uber Eats and served as the app’s poster child at a media event this week. Owner Megan Lindsey said she is banking on increased name recognition for Franktuary.
“I’m hoping that experiencing our food through delivery will then draw them in the next time they are out and see our name or are looking for something or craving something,” said Lindsey.
Uber volunteered 80-year-old Uber Eats driver Ron Graziano of Greenfield for an interview.
“The future is here. And I don’t know what’s in store for the next 20 years, but it’s hard for an old-timer like me to believe what’s happening,” Graziano said.
Graziano said he already enjoyed driving his KIA Soul around Pittsburgh as a regular Uber driver and is game for driving with Uber Eats as well.
“My grandchildren and children tell me, ‘Grandpap, this is the future,'” said Graziano.
New users in Pittsburgh can download the Uber Eats app and enter code PITTEATS at checkout for $10 off their first order.
Watch Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 all day Thursday for our series of report on the new app and the challenges it could face.