UberEats' wants to boost the variety of meals up for local delivery through its app

UberEats is already a pretty convenient way to order takeout meals, but in many neighborhoods certain types of foods can be hard to come by. Now the company has announced its intention to work with restaurants to create dishes based on local consumer demand, as well as provide smarter meal recommendations.

Taking the guesswork out of “what should I have for dinner?”, the latest update to the UberEats app inundates users with custom-tailored recommendations based on past orders, right down to specific dishes they might find enjoyable. This is particularly useful given the potentially endless number of choices provided through the app, which currently numbers 80,000 restaurants in nearly 200 cities around the world.

Still, while that is certainly a large number of restaurants by any measure, that doesn’t account for the distribution of certain types of cuisines in various locations. A user who wants to order falafel or bulgogi, for instance, might be out of luck if there are no nearby restaurants that offer those dishes. This is why UberEats is now testing out ‘virtual restaurants,’ working with local eateries in certain neighborhoods to help fill gaps in demand.

By harnessing consumer data from the app, UberEats is able to gauge demand for certain types of dishes or cuisines in a given area. UberEats then takes this information to local restaurants, who can then decide to open a virtual restaurant if they have the means or desire to do so. Currently, there are a few restaurants on the app testing out the idea, such as Si-Pie, a Chicago-area pizzeria, which now doubles as a virtual fried chicken joint under the name Si’s Chicken Kitchen.

Uber is not the only player in the food delivery space that is currently trying to expand its local offerings. Earlier this year rival GrubHub announced a $1 billion investment in Green Summit Group, which currently operates nine different virtual restaurants from one physical kitchen in New York City.

UberEats

UberEats is already a pretty convenient way to order takeout meals, but in many neighborhoods certain types of foods can be hard to come by. Now the company has announced its intention to work with restaurants to create dishes based on local consumer demand, as well as provide smarter meal recommendations.

Taking the guesswork out of “what should I have for dinner?”, the latest update to the UberEats app inundates users with custom-tailored recommendations based on past orders, right down to specific dishes they might find enjoyable. This is particularly useful given the potentially endless number of choices provided through the app, which currently numbers 80,000 restaurants in nearly 200 cities around the world.