Amazon launches restaurant delivery for Prime members in London

Back in July we reported that Amazon was set to launch a restaurant delivery service in London for its Amazon Prime customers and now the e-commerce giant has done just that.

Dubbed Amazon Restaurants, the service is available in select postcodes via the Amazon Prime Now app and promises to let you order food from partner restaurants for delivery within the hour. It competes directly with the likes of Deliveroo and more recently Uber’s UberEats in the UK capital city.

Amazon says there are no menu markups or hidden service fees, and delivery on all orders is free for Prime members with a minimum order of £15.00. (Prime membership is not free, of course, starting at £79 per year but includes a whole bunch of perks, such as movie streaming and unlimited next day delivery on select items etc.)

It also says that if a customer finds a restaurant item that is priced higher than the regularly priced item on the restaurant’s current online menu within 24 hours of placing the order, Amazon will refund the customer the price of the item.

That feels like a pre-emptive move in case a price war breaks out between competing online ordering and delivery services, and by pitching Amazon Restaurants at existing Prime members, the headline price of free delivery will also put pressure on Deliveroo and UberEats within Amazon’s existing Prime customer pool. Both Deliveroo and UberEats have been heavily discounting at various times as the restaurant food delivery turf war in London continues.

Then, of course, there’s competition for couriers. Both Deliveroo and UberEats have seen discontent amongst their “self-employed” workforce over the terms of payment for carrying out deliveries, leading to a series of “wild cat” strikes and an attempt at some form of unionisation.

How having a third and large player in the form of Amazon Restaurants will affect the market for couriers is yet to be seen, although, presumably, Amazon will be utilising its existing network of same-hour delivery drivers and re-deploying them during lunch and dinner times, so the effect may be incremental, depending how fast the service grows.

“London offers some of the best cuisine from around the world, so we’re delighted that Amazon Prime customers can now enjoy food from their favourite restaurants via Amazon’s ultra-fast Prime Now service,” said Al Wilkinson, UK Head of Amazon Restaurants, Amazon, in a statement.

“Based on our own research into what is important to consumers in food delivery, our team have hand-picked a selection of the best quality local restaurants in London. We’re excited to be helping many of these small businesses start offering home delivery for the very first time.”

Amazon Restaurants delivery via Prime Now first launched in Seattle in September 2015, and has grown to cover Manhattan, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, Austin, Atlanta, Miami, Baltimore and Portland.