Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cleveland (and This Writer) Gets First Taste of UberEATS

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 1:31 PM

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UberEATS, the new food delivery platform that makes ordering restaurant food as easy as hailing an Uber ride, has landed in Cleveland. Naturally, I had to take it on a test drive.

After downloading the UberEATS app, which is distinct from the regular Uber app, I glanced through the roster of available options. The selection, at least from my home base in Cleveland Heights, was not all that impressive. My handful of options included a couple bars, Café Bon Appetit, Nighttown, Trentina and Fire Food and Drink, which isn’t even open at lunch. I’m sure more will be coming online in the coming weeks and months.

One restaurant, Simply Greek, sounded perfect. I assembled an order off the easy-to-use menu, which lists and describes every available item. When various options or sizes exist, those choices automatically pop up as well. Apparently the app is connected with the regular Uber app, because I did not have to enter any sign in, password or payment info. I placed my order and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Ten minutes later I received a notification that the restaurant could not accept my order. That restaurant no longer even appears as an option. My assumption is that they were inundated with orders and elected to go offline.

At 11:57 p.m. I placed a second order with Trentina, this one for a CWRU Mushroom Pizza ($12), made with kale and mushrooms from Case-owned Squire Valleevue Farms. I also ordered Bucatini Della Nonna ($9), housemade noodles with tomato butter and parmesan cheese.

My order was confirmed and accepted by the restaurant and I received an estimated time of arrival. That time, though it fluctuated in real time, proved to be accurate to within five minutes. Unlike the Uber app, you do not see where the driver’s car is on the map, only the ETA.

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My driver arrived at 12:45 and walked up to the house holding a shopping bag – by the handles – with a pizza box inside – on its side.

“Is that a vertical pizza?” I asked the driver.

“I hope so,” he says without missing a beat.

It wasn’t. I opened the box in front of him to reveal a pizza on its side, all of those lovely mushrooms in a heap in the corner.

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No issues with the pasta.

“For a limited time,” the flat delivery fee of $4.99 is being waived. Tipping is neither expected nor required.

How have your experiences with the new delivery service been? 

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