Best known for delivering people, car sharing app Uber is now pulling up a chair at the food delivery table.
UberEATS launches in the city tomorrow and will give hungry residents the chance to order lunch, dinner or snacks from their favourite restaurants in the area and have the meal delivered to their door.
Aiming to compete with market rivals, UberEATs hopes the flexible approach to delivery will give them the edge over main competitors, Deliveroo, who have been operating in the city since June 2015.
Just like the car service, the app allows users to track the delivery as they wait.
But instead of cars, the food will be delivered by couriers on bikes or scooters.
A spokesperson said: “Unlike our competitors, we don’t set shift patterns for the couriers. They can log in and log out whenever they want.
“It fits well around students because they can break for lunch, or deliver after lectures to earn some money.”
Uber says more than one million people have downloaded the UberEATS app since its launch in London in June last year while there are more than 100,000 current users of the Uber private hire car service in Edinburgh. General manager Mathieu Proust, said: “It’s really exciting to be starting to push into Scotland.
“Whilst we’re initially opening in Edinburgh, we don’t think Glasgow will be too far behind and we have more Scottish towns in the pipeline.”
Uber said the key to success is their couriers, who, on bikes and scooters, are ideal for quick delivery, particularly of hot food, and who, unlike cars, can avoid lengthy traffic jams during peak times.
It also gives nearly anyone the opportunity to be a freelance courier.
“The barrier to entry is really low,” an Uber spokesperson said: “So if, for example you are a student and you want to earn a bit of extra money you aren’t restricted by not having a driving licence or a car – all you need is a bike to sign up.”
Food can be ordered from more than 70 restaurants in Edinburgh including Bar Soba, Burgers and Beer Grillhouse, and Barburrito.
Bar Soba chief executive Brad Stevens said: “UberEATs is a great way for Soba fans to get their fix of our authentic street food at their homes and offices – as if straight from the night markets of south-east Asia to their door!
“We can’t wait to start accepting orders and sending our culinary remixes out to the masses.”
The service will initially be available in cental Edinburgh with scope for couriers to expand further out of the centre.
The arrival of UberEATS is part of an expansion across 40 UK towns and cities.
Uber, who just announced an intention to demo “flying cars” in US cities by 2020, has faced intense scrutiny since March, after a series of crises including a backlash from investors and staff about its “toxic” culture and sexual harassment allegations.