Uber Begins Testing Lunch Delivery With UberFRESH

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Uber isn’t done producing variations on the theme of on-demand wheels – the startup has now begun testing uberFRESH, a service that provides lunch between 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM to customers in the Santa Monica trial area first, with a prix fixe menu that offers a different selection each day and is refreshed every week, for $12 per meal.

The uberFRESH service is available in the existing Uber app, as one of the growing number of toggles available on the far right of the slider at the bottom of the app’s interface. It runs during regular weekdays, and is closed on both weekends and holidays, plus again it’s limited to a specific geographic area in Santa Monica during the beta period. The first experiment starts today, and runs until September 5, but Uber says that could be extended if people respond well to the service.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 10.44.57 AMUsers aren’t charged for delivery (they pay only the $12 for the meal) and there’s no tip required. Delivery happens curbside, meaning a driver will deliver it outside your address, but won’t come to the door or come up to an office. Estimated delivery time is pegged at around 10 minutes, according to the company.

UberFRESH is just one of the delivery options Uber is experimenting with in a widespread bid to find new avenues to expand its business. Uber Corner Store is undergoing a pilot in the DC area, for instance, offering on-demand delivery of staple corner store items with similar mechanics to uberFRESH. The new service offering again puts Uber up against other messenger startups, including Postmates, which often handles lunch delivery orders from customers.

Uber’s full-court press on service variations that take advantage of its network of drivers offer an interesting look at its business strategy – which presumably involves offering an Uber for everything, everywhere, but figuring out the best way to do that with manageable regional pilots first.