According to sources close to the company, Uber Eats plans to expand this side of the business, and might get into more such tie-ups with restaurant chains.
According to Jason Droege, vice-president, Uber Everything, Uber Technologies said, this is an India-first initiative. Depending on its success, the company plans to take this to other markets where it is eyeing rapid expansion such as Latin America.
“Using experience, and lessons learnt in the virtual restaurant space from our global operations, we hope to provide our Indian restaurant partners greater growth opportunities. Virtual kitchens utilise and maximise the usage of already-available infrastructure, and keep the costs under control,” Droege said.
According to executives at Uber Eats, having restaurant chains provide the infrastructure reduces the costs ‘cloud kitchens’ have.
“Under the cloud kitchens model, an aggregator of restaurants provides space to quick-service chains. These chains prepare the food and the food delivery firm drops it door to door. It involves a lot of costs. Here, we are using what is already available. So there are almost no establishment costs,” said an executive.
UberEats is present in 37 cities in India, with a strong presence in tier-II cities. In the last 3 months, the number of orders on the app has grown six times, and the app is adding 100 new restaurants everyday.
“A virtual brand is being created as we speak,” said Venu Madhavan, CEO, CCD. “For example, there might be region-specific brands based on cuisines such as Gujarati food; a brand which covers the food culture in all of northeast. Also, there will be specific brands to cater to the office lunch and snacks crowd. But, the reveal will only happen next month,” said a source at UberEats.
Competition is heating up in this space, which recently saw Ola-owned Foodpanda acquire Holachef. Tech giant Google has also launched its restaurant delivery and home-services platform, Areo in India.