Uber Eats Follows DoorDash Into Cross-Country Food Delivery

As restaurant aggregators attempt to stand out from competitors, racing to meet all of the consumers’ food needs, some are expanding their focus from the local scale to the national.

On Tuesday (June 7), Uber Eats announced the launch of nationwide shipping, a feature by which consumers can send foods from local favorite food and beverage sellers to people anywhere in the United States.

“Over the last few years (especially during two years of lockdowns with decreased travel), consumers have shared their desire to bring specialty food items straight to their home,” the company wrote in the news release. “But this isn’t just something consumers have asked for. We’ve heard loud and clear merchants’ desire to diversify their offerings and reach new consumers.”

The announcement comes seven months after DoorDash announced the launch of its nationwide shipping offering, which essentially followed the model pioneered by nationwide shipping food marketplace Goldbelly, which has been operating in the space for nearly a decade. In 2020 the marketplace saw its business grow 300%, according to a company news release, and about a year ago, Goldbelly announced a $100 million Series C fundraise.

“The restaurant technology space has seen tremendous innovation over the last decade, but Goldbelly is the first company to offer restaurants the opportunity to turn what has historically been a hyper-local business model into one with a national reach,” said Pete Jensen, managing director at round leader Spectrum Equity, in a statement at the time.

Indeed, Uber Eats and DoorDash have exemplified that “hyper-local business model.” These offerings mark a dramatic departure from their core offerings. Of course, with DoorDash already in the space, Uber Eats risked falling behind if it failed to provide merchants with competitive offerings.

According to Restaurant Business, the first 16 merchants shipping nationally via Uber Eats include Los Angeles’ Bludso’s BBQ, New York’s Wafels & Dinges, Miami’s George Stone Crab, and San Francisco’s La Fromagerie.

Related news: DoorDash Aims to Edge Out Goldbelly With ‘Nationwide Shipping’ Launch

For restaurants, nationwide shipping enables them to bring in additional revenue and build a following that extends beyond those who walk by the storefront in their day-to-day lives. The opportunity presented by the channel has grown enormously in the past few years, with the rise of the stay-at-home economy having made consumers more open to remote, digital purchasing and gifting options.

Jay Rushin, CEO of H&H Bagels, a New York City-based bagel chain that ships nationwide through its direct channels, Goldbelly and DoorDash, spoke with PYMNTS in February about how this aspect of the company’s business has evolved since the start of the pandemic.

“In a pre-pandemic time, 40% of our nationwide shipping business was in the month of December,” said Rushin. “Starting in March of 2020, we were effectively doing December business every single month of the year because of the pandemic, and we’ve probably only given 10% of that back in the last six months. That nationwide shipping business is still five to six times the size it was pre-pandemic versus current, so that’s a sustainable business in our mind.”

See also: Specialty Food Shops Rake in Additional Revenue With Nationwide Shipping Boom