UberEATS aims to take big bite out of Edmonton food delivery competition

Click to play video: 'UberEATS gives drivers income options'
UberEATS gives drivers income options
WATCH ABOVE: Uber is still waiting for insurance in order to operate in Edmonton. In the meantime, its new UberEATS app gives drivers another way to make money delivering food, rather than passengers. Emily Mertz explains – May 26, 2016

Uber’s ride-sharing service has yet to get the green light to resume operations in Edmonton, but starting Thursday morning its UberEATS app will begin serving up a new option for some Edmontonians who like to have food delivered to them.

“We’ve partnered with 40 of some of the best local restaurants in Edmonton,” Ramit Karr, the general manager for Uber in Alberta, said. “We kind of stayed away from the major chains. We really honed in on your local favourites.

“Generally speaking, it’s restaurants that don’t traditionally do delivery at all.”

READ MORE: Uber-less start for Edmonton’s legal ride-sharing era

Right now the service is only being offered in a delivery zone closer to the city’s core. The zone’s boundaries are 23 Avenue in the south, 170 Street in the west end, 137 Avenue on the north side, and 50 Street in the east.

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The UberEATS zone boundary is 23rd Avenue in the south, 170th Street in the west end, 137th Avenue on the north side, and 50th Street in the east.

Already used by consumers in Toronto and Ottawa, Edmontonians are now able to download the UberEATS app on iOS and Android devices and use it to have food delivered from trendy eateries like El Cortez, MKT Fresh Food and Beer Market and The Local Omnivore.

“This has massively expanded our reach for who has access to us now, and the ease at which they have access to us, that’s the huge thing,” Mark Bellows, owner/operator of The Local Omnivore, said.

“We had budgeted to design our own software so we could track our own guests and have them order online,” Bellows added. “This has scrapped all that. We don’t need to do all that. It’s like the old idea: when you can’t do something very well, find someone who’s really good at it and work with them to do it.”

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READ MORE: UberEats expands its Toronto food delivery service

Once the app is downloaded, people can sign in with their existing Uber accounts — if they have one — and the service allows consumers to track the delivery of their food from the moment it’s picked up by a driver.

READ MORE: Uber temporarily suspends operations in Alberta’s capital

Uber says this is another way its drivers can keep working while the ride-sharing business is suspended in Edmonton while waiting for provincially-approved commercial insurance.

“We had thousands of drivers who were driving on the Uber platform before we had to stop operations,” Karr said. “They’ve been like, ‘hey when are we getting back on the road?’

“We’re hoping to get back on the road with ride-sharing, but…in the meantime, this is a great opportunity for those drivers to continue to make some extra money to put in their pocket.”

In an effort to promote its entry into the food delivery business in Alberta’s capital, UberEATS is offering free delivery for orders made in the Edmonton area for an unspecified length of time.

UberEATS faces established competition in Edmonton. There are already two well-known food delivery companies operating in the city: Winnipeg-based SkipTheDishes, and Toronto-based Just Eat.

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Both allow consumers to order take-out from dozens of local restaurants via a website or app, and the company provides drivers to deliver the orders. Skip’s app and website also allows you to track your delivery’s progress.

WATCH: CEO and co-founder of SkipTheDishes Joshua Simair talks about how he started the Winnipeg based business on Global News Morning.

Click to play video: 'Behind the scenes with SkipTheDishes'
Behind the scenes with SkipTheDishes

SkipTheDishes recently expanded to start offering breakfast delivery on the weekend, and lunch delivery during the work week.

In April the tech company entered into a $3 million partnership with the Saskatchewan government to help fund training for 300 new jobs in their Saskatoon corporate office.

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