- Uber Eats launched a new group ordering feature Wednesday, Uber Eats shared in an email to Restaurant Dive.
- Diners can click the "Start Group Order" button on featured restaurant menus on Uber Eats' website to place group orders for both delivery and pickup.
- The feature includes the vast majority of Uber Eats' restaurants at no cost to participating eateries.
Uber Eats is the latest third-party major delivery platform to add group ordering to its delivery and pickup offerings. Last year, the platform tested a similar service called Uber Eats Pool, which allows multiple orders from the same restaurant to be delivered to Uber Eats users who live in the same general vicinity. But this new service allows customers to share their group order link with friends, family and coworkers to streamline individual ordering, rather than strangers sharing the same delivery driver.
Postmates launched a group ordering feature in August, which allows the creator of the group to put a spending cap on the order. Once the order is placed, food is delivered by a single Postmates driver. Previously, the company had trialed a concept called Postmates Party, which gives customers free delivery if they order from restaurants where other users near their location had already placed orders. The convenience and allure of free delivery may have been undermined by the tool's time constraints, however — users only had five minutes to decide whether they wanted to join an order.
Grubhub has a program called Grubhub for Work, which lets users schedule a group order and pay separately. This tool can be integrated with a corporate account, and meals are individually labeled by name before they are delivered to the final location.
Uber Eats' group ordering doesn't feature any deadlines to opt in, which may help ease diner stress and decision fatigue and ensure a more convenient, streamlined process. As the third-party delivery market becomes increasingly crowded and competitive, offerings like this could be key to attracting new users and retaining existing ones.
The company is also trying to differentiate from rivals by testing a dine-in option. Customers can place an order through the Uber Eats app and then either collect it in-store or eat their meal at the restaurant. The dine-in option nixes delivery and service fees and participating restaurants gain 100% of customer tips through the app. Though it may seem counterproductive to order through a delivery app just to eat in-store, the move makes sense given growing customer loyalty to third-party delivery platforms and the rise of ghost kitchens, which do not have dedicated apps or websites outside of third-party partners.
Now that practically all of the delivery space's major aggregators offer group delivery, these players will need to find new ways to stand out from the crowd — whether that's limited-time promotions, celebrity-branded ghost kitchens or new ordering methods.