As day-to-day life slowly eases back to a sense of normality, some pandemic-era measures are pivoting.
This article is free of bias, and is based on corporate postings and media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: The New York Times, JD Power and Associates, TechCrunch.com, FoodDeliveryNews.com, Reuters.com, Michigan Live News, and Bloomberg Second Measure.
In a July, 2021 article by Kate Conger for The New York Times, entitled “Delivery Here to Stay For Restaurants as Pandemic Fades,” the author states: Delivery services such as DoorDash and Uber Eats became a lifeline for businesses during the pandemic. Restaurants learned the logistics of dealing with them — rearranging kitchens and stockpiling takeout containers in abandoned dining rooms — and reluctantly accepted delivery fees that cut into their already thin profit margins.
The article also noted a JD Power and Associates survey from the same period, whereby 71% of consumers said they would continue to order delivery as much or more than they had during the pandemic.
However, word of the fading pandemic was premature. The Delta variant was just beginning its U.S. phase, and Omicron had yet to make its first appearance.
Consumer preferences altered as the year went on, with many who previously stated they favored such delivery options now referring to them as symptoms of the pandemic they wished would finally end.
According to “Food Delivery Profits Remain Elusive,” a February, 2022 piece for TechCrunch.com, writer Alex Wilhelm elaborates on the falling stock value of several food delivery services, and notes a key difference of opinion on the matter: There’s a yawning gap between what public-market investors are saying about delivery companies and what private-market investors are hoping for the next crop of public companies from the space.
In the case of rideshare company Uber, its food delivery status is currently in the national dialog for these and other reasons, as are those of other delivery services.
Let us explore.
Uber Eats Plans For 2022
Food Delivery News recently published “Uber Is Set to Begin Autonomous Food Delivery in 2022.” The article, written by James Shea, states: Uber Eats is planning to start autonomous food deliveries sometime in early 2022. The company has partnered with driverless technology company Motional. The food will be delivered in modified Hyundai IONIQ 5 vehicles and take place in California. The project will be the first time Motional autonomous technology has been utilized to deliver food.
Though the company is clearly continuing its food delivery model, and taking advantage of the latest technology in doing so, other reports dive deeper.
A March, 2022 article by Jonathan Stempel for Reuters, titled “Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates Must Face Diners' Lawsuit Over U.S. Restaurant Prices,” reports on the issue of a current legal battle that has sparked public criticism of the companies involved: A U.S. judge on Wednesday said Grubhub, Uber Eats and Postmates must face an antitrust lawsuit by diners who accused them of driving up menu prices by exploiting their dominance in meal deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, Kayla Miller of Michigan Live News also reported in March about a current rise of delivery prices from Uber Eats. In her article, “Cost of Uber Rides, Uber Eats Delivery to Rise as Gas Prices Climb,” she refers to a recent Associated Press clip: Riders will pay an extra 45 cents or 55 cents for each Uber trip, depending on location, the company announced last week. Want to order your favorite food delivery via Uber Eats? Expect to pay an extra 35 cents or 45 cents, depending on where you live, AP said.
Though this and other potential deterrents in the food delivery space have dominated news items on the matter, word that Uber Ears and some similar delivery services are being discontinued in 2022 seem to stem from a May, 2020 Uber update, which claimed they were pulling eight smaller markets from their food delivery territory. These markets were international, and you can the Reuters report about the issue here.
Today, most prognosticators believe, despite some well-publicized difficulties, that food delivery services from Uber and others will not only survive but in time be considered not a pandemic symptom, but simply a convenience in daily life. Some service companies will fall, for sure, as referred to in the above-linked Tech Crunch article, but the big players seem here to stay.
A March, 2022 Janine Perri article for Bloomberg Second Measure appears to validate this belief. In her piece entitled “Which Company is Winning the Restaurant Food Delivery War?” Perri writes: When many Americans sheltered in their homes early in the coronavirus pandemic, meal delivery sales reached new heights. Our data reveals that in February 2022, sales for meal delivery services grew 10 percent year-over-year, collectively.
Again, no slowdown is indicated as an overall measure.
Uber Eats and other similar services are set to become an ongoing convenience of daily life, if they have not already.
The pandemic may have hastened the perception of value of such food delivery services, and despite some turbulence that value has since appeared to increase.
Thank you for reading.