Uber is testing selling foodie experiences via Uber Eats

Uber is selling foodie experiences such as cooking classes and multi-course fine dining in its on-demand food delivery app, Uber Eats, under a new Moments tab, per Forbes, which reports on a small-scale test currently running in San Francisco.

It says Uber Eats users in the city have received an email saying they can book Uber Moments for the next month, until November 17, with initial bookable experiences being a $75 class on making Chinese dumplings and a $55 five-course Nigerian dinner.

“We’re always thinking about new ways to enhance the Eats experience,” an Uber spokesperson told Forbes when asked about the pilot.

The test sounds similar in concept to the experiences which Airbnb has baked into its on-demand accommodation platform over the past three years — with tens of thousands of experiences now being offered in its case, running the gamut from (similar) foodie offerings, to pretty much anything you can think of wanting to do; guided hiking tours, glamping, animal petting, performing arts classes and so on.

It might seem odd for Uber, a ride-hailing giant, to try to blend its on-demand food delivery arm — with its raison d’être of quickly filling a lunch-hole in your stomach — with aspiration culinary experiences like lessons on preparing elaborate dinner.

But the company has designs on building what CEO Dara Khosrowshahi described last month as the “operating system for your everyday life”.

In June we also reported that Uber had begun testing folding Eats into its main app, ahead of publicly laying out its plan to roll multiple services into a single app to rule users’ daily decisions. (Work is another area of current focus for Uber: Earlier this month it launched a shift-finder app in Chicago, partnering with local staffing agencies but saying it would expand the offering to more areas “soon”.)

So, ultimately, Uber Moments looks intended to sit alongside a range of Uber-powered services, from ride-hailing to micromobility, employment and on-demand delivery.

As well as — most likely — new services Uber hasn’t launched yet but needs to given its ongoing quest to hail a profitable business model.

It’s pretty easy to envisage Uber Moments rubbing shoulders with other branded tabs in Uber’s ‘uber app’ — say Uber Stays, Uber Trips and Uber Cover, for example, if the company were to pivot towards travel; or Uber Clean, Uber Care and Uber Fix, if it decided to get in on on-demand home services.

Last month it launched an incubator to develop new services to plug into its planned ‘everything app’. Khosrowshahi added the app would be “a one-click gateway to everything that Uber can offer you” — though what else it can offer which people will want to buy remains to be seen.

The company’s reputation has taken a battering in recent years. And whether Uber has traveled far enough down the road of reforming its culture and detoxifying its brand for consumers to want to lean in and deepen their relationship, after earlier years of scandals plus ongoing question marks over issues like passenger safety, is not yet clear.

If Uber’s ride-hailing business still can’t weed out problematic drivers then consumers will have little reason to trust it to delivery a wider range of everyday services.