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Uber Expands Food Delivery Service to Crowded London Market

  • London is second European city to get UberEATS after Paris
  • Uber will compete against Deliveroo and others startups

Uber Technologies Inc., demonstrating its global ambitions extend beyond just giving customers a ride, is expanding its food delivery business in Europe.

The car-hailing company introduced UberEATS in London today, the second European city where it’s available after Paris. Several U.S. cities also have the program.

Uber has been aggressively expanding around the world as it attempts to add users and justify its lofty $62.5 billion valuation. CEO Travis Kalanick sees food delivery as a natural extension for the network of cars and drivers already on the road giving people rides.

UberEATS is a standalone app allowing customers to order food from different local restaurants. The design is similar to Uber’s ride-hailing app and shows customers the status of their order so it can be tracked as it’s being prepared and the driver is en route. When the service opened at lunchtime today in London, customers could order a "Green Dream Smoothie" for £5 ($7), burrito for £6 or a king prawn pasta for £9, all from different local outlets. In London, it will be available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Customers can also order from Ubereats.com.

Uber joins a crowded food-delivery market. Companies including Deliveroo and GrubHub Inc. have been available in London for some time, and competition is intensifying across Europe.

London is an enticing market for food delivery because of the dense and affluent population. Amazon Fresh, the e-commerce company’s grocery delivery business, opened in the capital last week. Meanwhile, investors have been pouring money into meal delivery startups. London-based Deliveroo raised $100 million last year and Foodpanda raised $210 million. Many of these companies, including Deliveroo, JustEat and GrubHub, have blanketed the city with aggressive marketing to lure new customers.

“People love being able to push a button to book a car and now they can order great food with us too," said Jo Bertram, Uber’s regional general manager in the U.K. "We’ll bring lunch, treats and dinner to Londoners with the same choice, convenience and value we’re already known for.”

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