Uber is “totally comfortable” with its Uber Eats business becoming larger than its core ride-sharing business, the company’s chief business officer for international Brooks Entwistle has told indianexpress.com.
Uber Eats, which already has a $6-billion run rate, is by now in markets like Japan where the rides business has had issues getting off the blocks because of regulation or policy hurdles. Incidentally, India is the fastest-growing market for Uber Eats, registering a 50% month-on-month growth.
“These are both big business and the overall Uber brand benefits from that,” Entwistle said, adding that how Uber Eats was ahead of the rides business in markets like Japan and Korea, while in Australia both were growing at a good pace. “We don’t put a lot of controls on whether these two businesses move in sync. We are about market places and addressing the needs,” he added.
Calling India a huge market for Uber Eats, Raj Beri, who heads this business in APAC, said its important to understand that this vertical is just two-and-a-half years old, but is already in over 190 cities and the biggest food delivery business outside China. “We have been able to leverage the technology platform from the rides side,” Beri said, underlining that Asia is the fastest-growing region with six times growth in the last year.
“Though we have been there only for 15 months, India is the fastest-growing country . We have recorded an over 50% m-o-m growth and now covers 28 cities and 12,000 restaurants,” he added.
Uber Eats was launched with Mumbai last May.
Beri said while India already has a few strong players in the food delivery business, these are still very early days. “In the long run, our advantage will be our technology. We did grow a rides business from nothing to the great position it is in now,” he added. Beri said while the app will soon be able to suggest food based on the customers behaviour, the restaurants will also get to know more about those behaviours and expand accordingly.
Entering Tier II and III markets like Indore, Vijayawada and Mysuru has also helped. “The appreciation for a service like this is much more in those markets,” he said, adding that this is a global strategy for Uber Eats.
Also, Uber Eats is very keen on using drones for delivering food in the near future. “We have just announced pilots for drone delivery. It will be a magical experience to push a button a get your food delivered in 7-8 minutes, and warmed to quality.”
But the new drone policy in India is not open to the use of the technology for delivery of food or merchandise. Beri said these were very early days and conversations with regulators will need to take place over time. “But just the promise that we are investing on something like this is important.”
“We are creating good economic opportunities for restaurants. We work with a lot of small and medium sized restaurants that would not have had access to the kind of demand and marketing insights that we can generate for them,” he said about how Uber Eats is helping restaurants expand.
Uber’s Q22018 net revenue was $2.7 billion, up 51% from the same quarter last year, and gross bookings were $12 billion, up 41% year-over-year.
Travel for this report was sponsored by Uber