UberEATS gets custom suggestions, food filters, and drop-off instructions

Uber’s adding a number of product updates to its UberEATS restaurant delivery product, some of which you may already have seen since they’ve been testing in various markets ahead of this broad launch. The updates include convenience features aimed at making it easier for users to order, receive and track their food, which is good news if you’re hungry (or if you will be at some point in the future, which is likely).

The updates include tailored recommendations, which surface the restaurants you use most frequently right at the top of your home screen, making it easier for users to go back to old favorites time and time again. If you want to get a bit more a la carte, there’s a new way to filter down the list of available restaurants by certain criteria, include the average speed of delivery, specific dietary concerns and restrictions, and price limits.

Other new features include a very useful one for office situations: customizable drop-off directions for drivers. You can specify exactly where you want the food left, including at your door or at the lobby, and you can even enter exact instructions that allow you to run outside and pick it up curbside if you just can’t wait to gobble that grub.

Order tracking is available throughout the process, so you can watch the preparation, delivery pickup and drive to your house and more. And you can now schedule out orders ahead of time, which is huge for people that don’t want to rely on what’s available on demand without any pre-planning. That’s basically at the top of my list for online ordering options, because I have this unshakeable feeling that my online orders are going into a void from whence no food will ever emerge.

“Some of these things are in the process of launching right now, some have launched a little prior to this discussion,” explained UberEATS product manager Calvin Lee on a phone call, noting that all these changes stem from iterations begun when the team realized that UberEATS was best-served with an app that stood alone, and offered a distinct experience from a ride hailing service.

“I think it just speaks to the work that our restaurant team, and our city operations and our sales team have been putting into bringing partners on board,” Lee said. UberEATS product manager Rachel Lin noted that they now have 46,000 restaurants on the platform, up from around 1,000 at launch, and that the number is growing quickly, and set to expand considerably with the forthcoming addition of South Korea and India to the list of markets it serves.

UberEATS is also now moving into regions where Uber itself isn’t available – there isn’t one in Korea, for instance, but EATS will launch soon. The emphasis on product and growth suggests that UberEATS has long since graduated from being a side bet, which Uber used to launch with fair frequency, and is now entirely a product line in its own right. Again – good news if you’re hungry.