A slew of third-party services have changed the way foodservice does delivery. Generally these companies target the consumers rather than the operators, but new program UberRush hopes to serve both.
Rather than customers placing an order for delivery, restaurants can take customer orders and then place a delivery request themselves.
“I think most people associate Uber as something that is consumer-focused, consumer-driven, and the truth is that it is very different,” says Mark Schulze, head of app development for Clover. The point-of-sale system provider partnered with Uber to streamline the process. “I think one of the reasons the partnership is so valuable to both parties is that merchants of all sizes are really interested in expanding their business and delivery is a really excellent option and not everyone can hire a staff and afford to do it.”
UberRush began running its pilot program in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago in October. In addition to a unique client roster within each of the three metropolitans, the delivery method also varies; New York relies exclusively on bicycles, San Francisco uses both bicycles and cars, and Chicago uses only cars.
For car deliveries, Uber pulls from existing fleet of drivers after they have completed extra training.
Thus far UberRush has targeted small and medium businesses that might not have the capacity to create their own delivery system in-house. Nevertheless Schulze says that larger chains are beginning to seek out the program.
“I think generally the focus has been on the small-medium businesses and I’m sure at Uber they have goals and their sights on larger enterprises as well over time but this initial launch is really on the SMB,” Schulze says.
Restaurants that already use the Clover POS can download the UberRush app. When an order is placed, the operator can open the app in the POS, where they enter the name, phone number, and address for delivery. The app will indicate an estimated delivery cost, which merchants can either pay themselves or pass along to the customer.
Schulze says restaurants can schedule up to 20 concurrent deliveries. Like the original Uber, this app also allows merchants to track their various delivery vehicles on a map.
Operators who do not have a Clover POS can still use UberRush, but they have to open an Internet browser to use it. Schulze says this disconnect can disrupt a restaurant’s flow.
“When we started Clover, we did a lot of experiments with different order-ahead apps,” Schulze says. “We’d go and order food and go to the establishment to pick it up, and the clerk would look at us like we’re crazy. … We’d look behind them and there might be a computer or tablet in the back room flashing red saying, ‘Order, order, order,’ and they just wouldn’t notice it because it wasn’t in the flow of how they do things.”
Although UberRush is only in the pilot stage in three cities, Schuzle imagines it will roll out to new areas soon enough.
By Nicole Duncan