UberEATS, a division of the popular ride-sharing service, officially launches Thursday as a new food delivery option in the Hartford market.
More than 70 restaurants have signed on with UberEATS in Greater Hartford, with delivery service available from partner eateries in the city and surrounding towns, stretching west to New Britain and as far east as Manchester. Participating restaurants include Bear's Smokehouse, Wood-n-Tap, King & I Thai, Republic at the Linden, Bob Ramen and others.
"It's very similar to ordering a ride with Uber," says Casey Verkamp, general manager for UberEATS in Connecticut. "A few taps and you're all set; it's a seamless process." Uber users can pay with their credit card already on file.
UberEATS first made its way into the state last August, debuting the service in the Stamford and New Haven regions. Verkamp said the company is thrilled with the growth in those markets and has been eager to get into Hartford.
Customers can browse the stand-alone UberEATS app (available on iOS and Android) and choose available restaurants based on their delivery address. Restaurant listings provide menus with pricing, details and color photography, along with delivery time estimates. Diners pay a flat $4.99 fee for delivery, and restaurants pay UberEATS a percentage of sales to use the platform.
The service taps into Uber's existing network of local partner-drivers and boosts their earning potential, Verkamp says. Some drivers are dedicated to delivery, but others may add delivery stops to their regular shifts during quieter hours. "It expands the time that existing Uber driver partners can stay busy and therefore increase their earnings with us," she says.
UberEATS may expand to other areas of Connecticut in the future, Verkamp says, if more restaurants and partner-drivers come on board.
"We would love to be everywhere; that's our goal...we know there's appetite for it."
Restaurateur Prasad Chirnomula, who has partnered with UberEATS for his five restaurants in New Canaan, New Haven and Ridgefield, says he's pleased with the convenience factor of the service and praises the marketing potential of the app. He also uses local delivery services Waiter Wheels and Dine In Connecticut.
Chirnomula's newest restaurant, INDIA, opened in December in West Hartford's Blue Back Square, and he says he was happy to learn he'd now be able to partner with UberEATS there.
"The benefit of having Uber currently — if I have five orders, they're capable of sending me five drivers," he says. "Customer service is already getting better."
UberEATS offers a limited-time promotional code for a discount on customers' first two orders. Enter "HARTFORD10" at checkout to redeem. Information: ubereats.com.