The UberEATS iPhone app in action
Last year I likened the web-based Postmates delivery service to “a fleet of Uber drivers…waiting for you to order dinner…then rush it to you.” I’m not claiming the folks who run Uber read Feast!, but they have come around to the idea and recently launched their own restaurant meal delivery service called Uber Eats. Strike that — home delivery is a crowded market these days, and the rideshare company wanted to make sure the new branding pops. So they spell it UberEATS.
At this point I’m well familiar with the potential pitfalls of apps promising prompt meal service to sofa dwellers. Postmates charges ludicrously high delivery fees. Delivery.com doesn’t offer enough restaurant options.
Bring It to Me and Give Me Delivery feature different restaurants but turn out to be exactly the same otherwise (from user interface to the minimum order), and GrubHub subcontracts to them. Doordash doesn’t require minimums but does surreptitiously add 50 cents or so to the cost of each dish in addition to variable delivery fees.
A decent selection of restaurants for UberEATS, with more on the way
Once I figured it out, UberEATS stacked up well enough. It didn’t offer much info up front, but I found a worthy assortment of restaurants near the downtown area: Tokyo Deli, Meze Greek Fusion, and Big Thyme Sandwich Company are all favorites of mine. I decided to go with a place I don’t know much about, Bootlegger, mostly because it offered fried chicken and biscuits served with mashed potatoes and gravy.
I wouldn’t know till my order was nearly complete that the delivery fee was about the average rate among such services: $4.99, with no minimum order. The ordering process works better on the phone app than its clunky desktop interface. I did use a promotional code that offered first-time users $20 in credit, but it wasn’t applied until after I charged my credit card, so for a while there it looked as though I had paid full price.
Bootlegger fried chicken and biscuits, mashed potatoes nowhere to be found
The food showed up quickly. However, while the gravy showed up, the mashed potatoes were missing. I’m presuming they were lost in the hustle to get the order out the door, but I can only guess as to whether this was an Uber driver eager to get to the next fare or the restaurant dropping the ball. I wasn’t thrilled, but it happens.
That the order contained a single small breast piece of fried chicken I’ll put at the feet of Bootlegger. The two biscuits easily outweighed the chicken, and neither were exceptional. Maybe those potatoes would have tied the meal together. I ordered a side of seasonal vegetables as well, and while I do appreciate seasonal produce, sautéed carrots and squash never thrill.
UberEATS performed well as a delivery service, but it needs to better communicate its policies. One of the few instructions it offered was “No need to tip.” Like a bunch of tech guys sitting in a San Francisco office can tell me when tipping is appropriate. UberJERKS.