Uber has introduced a brand new feature of its food delivery service that involves absolutely no food delivery whatsoever. Instead of having a driver pick up your order and bring it to your home, the new Uber Eats feature lets place food preorders with your favorite restaurants before you actually arrive at the restaurant to enjoy your next meal. The service isn’t yet available in all markets, but it’s a smart addition to Uber’s arsenal, both for the company and the consumer.
The service doesn’t have a name of its own but appears as a Dine-in option inside the Uber Eats interface right alongside Delivery and Pickup, Eater reports. Dine-in began testing in November and it’s currently available in select markets, including Dallas, Austin, Tucson, and San Diego, with no known plans for a wider rollout.
Unlike the Uber Eats delivery that charges fees for food being placed, picked up, and delivered, the new Dine-in feature only charges restaurants, and it’s supposed to be lower than the price they pay for Uber Eats deliveries.
Uber said the new features would help “bridge the gap” between customers and restaurants. “We want to enable restaurants to focus on what they’re best at — making amazing food and providing top-notch service,” an Uber spokesperson said. “By allowing customers to order and pay in the app, we streamline the experience for both the customers and the restaurant.”
The great thing about Dine-in is that you can change the way you make plans for eating out, reducing the time you have to wait for your order to go through. Then again, chatting while waiting for your food is part of the eating out experience.
The feature makes sense for Uber too, because in some cases it might make extra cash from Uber rides related to the dining experience. With Uber Eats, Uber charges you for the delivery. But with Dine-in, customers might also pay for trips to the restaurant and back home if they’re not driving themselves.