Last week Eater reported that Seattle would become the tenth city for a service called UberEATS, offered by the ride-hailing app Uber. The service launched yesterday, to, shall we say, mixed results.
UberEATS promises curbside delivery within ten minutes of lunch orders placed between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. They do this by contracting with popular restaurants and publishing a daily menu of three items.
Uber contractors pick up the packaged lunches at the restaurants and bring them to a central commissary in South Lake Union, where they are loaded into about 100 Ubers that cruise designated neighborhoods (downtown, Pioneer Square, Belltown, SLU, Capitol Hill and Queen Anne), awaiting an order via the Uber app.
Even though they've done this in almost a dozen other cities, Uber struggled in Seattle, without enough vehicles on the street or enough lunches to satisfy demand. A vocal group of unhappy customers tweeted and posted yesterday afternoon that their orders never arrived: among them, GeekWire correspondent Taylor Soper, who had just written a glowing preview of the service. Now check out his actual experience.
Eater's own first trial was similar to GeekWire's: three separate attempts to order lunch proved unsuccessful. A written complaint to Uber's customer support resulted in an apology and a $20 credit.
The company also apologized on social media and explained it was overwhelmed by the unexpected demand for its service. It promised to assign more drivers in the future.
One the bright side, no statistics were released by Uber, but the reaction on Facebook and Twitter from many customers was positive (see evidence of satisfied shoppers at the end of Soper's article), even for those who had to wait (gulp!) 15 minutes instead of just 10. And Uber, after all, was basically sold out within two hours.