Uber Eats Celebrates Three Years in South Africa

Where technology and Convenience Merge

One app in three years by three perspectives

In three years, Uber Eats has completely changed food consumption in South Africa. It’s convenience made affordable, accessible and attainable. That’s why Uber Eats has become one of the most popular food delivery apps, not just locally but globally, redefining an entire industry along the way. Three core groups function daily with the app, providing the perfect summary of what Uber Eats was able to achieve locally in just over 1000 days.

Consumer Committed 

The global brand has not only expanded rapidly but localised internally, in each region they operated in. The decision to launch in South Africa in 2016, provided Uber Eats with an opportunity to localise food delivery to the climate of South Africa. Locals have a strong sense of pride, and celebrating cultural authenticity is a must.

“When we launched in South Africa, we knew from the get-go, that the app needed to celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity when it comes to foods and flavours. The country is rich with various unique cuisines that you aren’t able to find anywhere else, and providing local restaurants with a platform to grow this was imperative,” says Ailyssa Pretorius, General Manager at Uber Eats  South Africa.

Based on the recent Uber Eats Local Cravings Report, it was identified that South Africans love supporting locals and home-known flavours. Some of the largest international food chains had to adapt menu items to cater for the Eater, with as many as 1000 order requests asking for traditional starch to be swapped out for local pap. It didn’t stop there, with the app adding in the firm South African favourite fast food franchise, Chicken Licken onto the app.

The steadfast inclination towards supporting locals and home-known flavours, seen some of the biggest food chains internationally, change menu options to better suit the audience. KFC introduced the starch-swap option of gravy for pap, while the app provided a platform for local favourites like Kotas and Vetkoek to grow in popularity due to a higher availability via app access.

This month alone, the app will see two new key features introduced. The first being an allergy alert, which will inform Eaters up-front of any possible allergy-prone ingredient their orders may contain, helping to reduce the potential risk of accidental consumption and also offering piece-of-mind. The second update will build on creating a more sustainably-conscious app, by offering Eaters a utensil opt-in option. This will allow Eaters to request whether or not they require cutlery with their order, significantly reducing the plastic wastage.

Couriers Contribution
Aside from simply promoting local flavours and tastes, the app brought in an opportunity for multiple locals to earn a living by joining as a courier. With rapid expansions, the app entered four new cities this year alone (Bloemfontein, Paarl, Kloof, Soweto) bringing the total tally to nine cities countrywide, offering more locals the opportunity to join the app. Moreover, the app also continues to localise, by creating new low-barrier entry methods for couriers to join the app, by introducing delivery through non-motorised vehicles such as bicycles.

Couriers receive a variety of safety equipment (including branded and reflective jackets and a helmet) and onboard training to ensure that they best equipped to make use of the app, while remaining safe on local roads. Courier vehicles also undergo a third-party inspection to ensure roadworthiness before being given access onto the Uber Eats platform. While most orders are completed in under 30 minutes, to date the record for this year was done in just nine minutes, proving that couriers truly enjoy the experience and want to provide the best possible service to Eaters and locals alike.

Restaurant Relationships
With more than 3000 active restaurants, over 480 000 menu options and a total of 80 unique cuisines, eaters are spoilt for choice and app continues to build on this. Uber Eats has provided a channel that extends on business offerings, increasing visibility and accessibility of these restaurants, allowing them to enter both niche and wider market shares.

Greig Walker from CNR Café, who joined the app from its launch tells, “Joining Uber Eats at first was a bit of a risky move, because it was fairly new and still building a resonance locally. However, three years later, it was a great business decision, and the support and research analytics that I receive from the app have allowed us to grow in the most unconventional ways. I’m excited for what’s to come and the new opportunities it brings.”

Uber Eats highlights that understanding change and adapting to it is easy, but creating an offering that offers value is the difference. The app continues to explore and upgrade, looking for innovative solutions to the latest of consumer cravings. In three years, the app hasn’t just built a name, but built an industry that has allowed for countless opportunities for locals to create a living and expand on their business. It isn’t just about food or delivery, but offering a platform (not just a service) that caters to an era.

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