Uber Eats adds voice ordering, pilots autonomous delivery

As delivery is increasingly becoming more profitable, DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats have stepped up product enhancements and diversified into new segments like grocery, alcohol, convenience stores and retail.

At Uber Eats’ Go/Get 2022 event on Monday, the company continued that trend, announcing it is adding pickup ordering at various stadiums, piloting test autonomous delivery, launching voice ordering and expanding its Vouchers program to general consumers to use for at events like weddings and to order food or rides.

With these enhancements Uber Eats aims to reach more customers and find ways to potentially provide lower cost deliveries. As of March, DoorDash continued to dominate the delivery segment with 59% market share, while Uber Eats remains the second largest company with 24% share, according to Bloomberg Second Measure. DoorDash and Grubhub have been dipping their toes into autonomous delivery for some time, while Uber Eats is just starting pilot programs with its latest announcement. Uber Eats, however, appears to be making big moves into stadiums unlike its competitors that have yet to go into this space in a significant way.

New products could also keep customers coming back, especially as dine-in sales continue to recover. Dine-in visits increased 38% during the first quarter compared to a 45% decline from a year ago, according to The NPD Group data emailed to Restaurant Dive. Off-premise, which includes carryout, drive-thru and delivery, declined 9% during the quarter compared to a 24% increase in the year-ago quarter. 

“Delivery is continuing to surprise us positively as demand has remained resilient in a reopening world and we expect topline growth and profitability to expand through 2022,” Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO, said during the company’s Q1 2022 earnings call.

Voice Ordering

Permission granted by Uber Eats 

Uber Eats will roll out voice ordering during the summer, starting with English-language capabilities before bringing additional languages online. The service integrates with Google, allowing customers to say a phrase like “OK Google, order food from Sweetgreen,” which would trigger the Uber Eats app. When the app pulls up, the guest can place an order with the requested restaurant via voice. Google Assistant will confirm the order details, and the customer can change or submit the order hands-free through the app.

Uber Eats’ voice ordering function will initially be available only on Android devices, but the company expects to launch the feature on other devices in the future.

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