Uber Eats launches its new platform for corporate accounts

Uber Eats is expanding to enterprise customers with the launch of Uber Eats for Business. The new service allows companies to manage their employees’ food orders and positions Uber Eats to compete more directly against rivals that already offer corporate accounts, including Deliveroo, GrubHub and Foodpanda (in some markets).

Uber Eats for Business is integrated into Uber for Business, which lets companies pay for and manage rides taken by their employees and clients. Its functions include setting meal programs that let employees order food at certain times and locations (for example, by geofencing a specific office’s address); automatic spending allowances that bill any overages to employees’ own credit cards; the ability for employees to order meals while traveling for work; and one monthly bill that sorts spending by teams, instead of multiple expense reports and receipts.

Enterprise accounts may help food delivery companies weather the headaches of operating an on-demand delivery service, including high operating costs, low margins and competition. Over the past two years, food delivery startups that have shut down include SpoonRocket, Sprig and Maple — and that’s just in the United States. India, which Uber Eats head Jason Droege recently said is its fastest-growing market, also experienced its own food delivery startup boom and bust, with TinyOwl, Spoonjoy and Dazo among its best-known casualties (Foodpanda sold its struggling India business to Ola, Uber’s biggest competitor there, in December 2017).

For Uber in particular, Uber Eats also represents a way to reach customers who have never used its ride-hailing services, thanks in part to different regulatory requirements, Uber Eats’ head of U.S. cities Ana Mahony recently told TechCrunch. The company says 40 percent of new Eats users are new to Uber, and one of its goals for this year is to expand food delivery coverage to 70 percent of the U.S. If it succeeds, that would put it ahead of Postmates, which said earlier this month that it now covers 60 percent of households in America.