Uber is piloting a new option for its Uber Eats service which lets you eat your preordered food in the restaurant, rather than at home. Eater reports that the new Dine-in option is currently available in Austin, Dallas, Tucson, and San Diego, and appears alongside the service’s existing delivery and pickup options. “Skip the wait when you order ahead,” the Dine-in option in the app reads, “Just grab a seat and enjoy.”
“We want to enable restaurants to focus on what they’re best at — making amazing food and providing top-notch service,” an Uber spokesperson told Eater in a statement, “By allowing customers to order and pay in the app, we streamline the experience for both the customers and the restaurant.” An FAQ page for the service notes that you can order your meal to be ready as soon as possible, or else schedule a time for your meal to be ready by. You’ll be sent notifications about the status of your order, and then it’s up to you to transport yourself to the restaurant to eat.
Although the service waives the standard delivery and service fees that Uber Eats usually charges, TechCrunch reports that the prices listed in the Uber Eats app sometimes appear to be higher than the prices listed by individual restaurants. Uber says that restaurants get 100 percent of the tips from Eats, which can be given either in person or through the app.
“We’re always experimenting with ways to make the Eats customer, restaurant partner, and delivery partner experience better,” Uber said in a statement to Eater, “This is one of those many test features.” The company did not say if the Dine-in test would expand to more cities.
Since originally launching as a spinoff app back in 2015, Uber Eats has become a major part of Uber’s business. The company has even started allowing Eats orders inside of its main app. However, although it generated $7.8 billion in revenue in 2018, the service still lost the company money overall.
Adding a dine-in option feels like a natural way of expanding the Uber Eats service; it makes the platform available to restaurants who don’t offer takeaway food, promises to free up tables faster at popular eateries, and creates the potential for cross-promotion between it and Uber’s main ride-hailing service. The app doesn’t currently let you automatically order an Uber to get you to the restaurant, but in a recent earnings call Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company was exploring the “many, many ways in which our Ride business can help continue to build our Eats business and vice versa.”