Here’s one more reason why you’ll never have to leave your house, or get out of your sweat pants.
UberEats launches this week in Thurston County.
The food delivery service from the ride-hail company Uber leverages its fleet of drivers to deliver food from participating restaurants.
So far, the company has dozens of Olympia restaurants signed up to participate, said Uber spokesman Nathan Hambley. Those restaurants include Eagan’s Drive-In & Espresso, Pellegrino’s Italian Kitchen, Trapper’s Sushi, Mediterranean Breeze and Kizuki.
It’s the second food delivery system to launch in Thurston County in the last year. Puget Sound To Go began in August.
How it works is similar to Puget Sound To Go.
Users must make their orders through a separate UberEats app that lists restaurants active in a diner’s area. On top of the cost of food, a delivery fee of $4.99 is added. Delivery areas stretch from Lacey to Olympia and some outlying areas, but which restaurants show up in a user’s app depends on participating restaurants at that time and the diner’s proximity to those locations.
Restaurants have the option to turn off the app during busy periods and also have the option of limiting the menu.
Farrelli’s Pizza has been using UberEats at three of its Pierce County stores since the service launched this year in Tacoma, and its Lacey store will deliver in Thurston County.
Farrelli’s marketing director Clayton Krueger said they now reach customers the pizza company otherwise might not, all without the expense of operating its own fleet of cars and drivers. He said the Farrelli’s on Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue has seen great success.
“The idea is to target a whole new set of customers,” Krueger said. “The customers who don’t want to go out, or they have kids and don’t want to pack them in the car.”
He said delivery services such as UberEats are a bit of an industry disruptor, and restaurants like his wonder what the shift to delivery might mean for underwriting the cost of maintaining a serving staff and dining room.
He added, “We’re trying to figure out how to best leverage it. I don’t think you can ignore it and at the same time, these services have a very aggressive take rate.”
That “take rate” is the fee that UberEats and other delivery services charge restaurants, and it can cut into a restaurant’s profits.
Patrick Knutson, co-owner of Budd Bay Cafe and River’s Edge at the Tumwater Valley Golf Course, said a sister restaurant in Federal Way, Billy McHale’s, has had “phenomenal” success with UberEats reaching local offices. He said office-bound workers ordering lunch otherwise never would visit his restaurant.
Both his Thurston County restaurants will start delivering though UberEats.
Additionally, he sees the potential for actual savings for his Olympia restaurant. Large catering orders require an employee to manage the order, he said. UberEats could replace the need for additional staff time, he said.