Uber launches pilot to deliver equipment to restaurants in Chicago

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Diving brief:

  • Uber partners with catering equipment distributor Parts Town to provide two-hour last mile delivery to operators and service technicians in the Chicago market, according to a press release.
  • The partnership is the first in the restaurant industry between a parts distributor and a ride-sharing provider to offer replacement parts for delivery, according to the release.
  • If the program goes well, expansion beyond Chicago is possible. Parts Town has more than 90 locations across North America and sells OEM equipment and parts through its digital marketplace, Parts In Town.

Overview of the dive:

Prompt delivery of parts could prevent lost sales in restaurants suffering from equipment malfunctions or damage. It’s hard to quantify the cost of restaurant equipment failures, but the cost of downtime can quickly add up. According to XtraChef by Toast, four hours of downtime in a restaurant that is typically open 12 hours a day means the loss of a third of a day’s sales.

Broken equipment also necessitates a change in operational processes, reassignment of labor – for example if employees need to move food from a cooler to another location – and potential reputational damage if items are not available.

Parts Town allows customers to order online from local service companies, dealers and distributors and pick them up within an hour. The company ships in-stock orders the same day until 9 p.m. EST. The Parts Town marketplace, which fully launched in 2020, is processing nearly 10,000 orders per month and seeing double-digit month-over-month sales growth, according to the company.

This offering is the latest in a growing line of products and services that Uber has added to diversify its portfolio. The company launched nationwide food shipping in June and is ramping up its grocery service. He also dabbled in pet stores, convenience stores, flower and alcohol delivery.

As Uber continues to expand its services, it’s likely to try to improve its value proposition for operators, whether that’s helping restaurants integrate virtual brands into their operations, or cultivating restaurant owners by as customers with programs like the Parts Town partnership.

The deal also provides Uber drivers with opportunities to increase their income.

“This partnership will not only benefit the restaurant industry and its customers, but will bring new revenue opportunities to the tens of thousands of Chicago-area drive-thru that help people, meals, groceries – and now mission-critical spares – to arrive at their destination.”, Meghan Musbach, general manager of Uber Eats in the Midwest said in a statement.

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