After shaking up the taxi industry, internet ride-sharing service Uber looks set to add its mark on the restaurant business in SA with its UberEats app, which is likely to eat into Mr Delivery’s market share. Mr Delivery has dominated the South African home delivery and takeaway food sector in recent times.
"UberEats’ impending arrival in SA will mean an increase in competition in the local market, but this is something we at Mr Delivery had anticipated and have been quietly preparing for over the past 18 months," Devin Sinclair, the head of Mr Delivery Food, said on Tuesday.
"We don’t see the arrival of UberEats as quite as revolutionary to the food delivery industry as the arrival of Uber was to the transport industry. There is a strong chance that UberEats will face the same challenges locally that they have faced abroad, when they have come up against more established competitors," said Sinclair.
"We have had the opportunity over the past 23 years to hone our relationships with restaurant partners, customers and drivers, which is a crucial head start." Sinclair said Mr Delivery had been through a process of completely overhauling its business and had developed a new Mr D app, which will provide customers the same "tap to order" convenience as UberEats. The app is currently live in select areas in the Western Cape and the company will be rolling it out regionally throughout SA over the remainder of 2016, he said.
The UberEats app debuted in various cities across the world in 2015 and earlier in 2016, promising to make "getting great food from hundreds of restaurants as easy as requesting a ride". On the UberEats platform customers can order food from any of the dozens of restaurants listed on the app, and Uber then facilitates the delivery.
"Our curated menus feature dishes from the local spots you love and the ones you’ve always wanted to try. It’s the same cashless payment as an Uber ride. So just tap the app, get your food delivered right to your doorstep and enjoy," a recent UberEats job advertisement reads.
Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said on Monday there was no fixed date for the launch of UberEats in SA.
Responding to questions about the fact that the company had advertised key positions for the UberEats platform, including those of marketing manager, GM and restaurant operations manager in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Allenberg said: "We are always exploring our options and looking for the best talent to join our team. So no news yet to report." The advertisement for UberEats GM for Johannesburg states that the successful candidate will have the "unique opportunity to scale and develop our food platform in one of our major cities globally".
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