Seamless and GrubHub diehards may be swayed by Caviar’s new mobile app — if they can afford to use it.
Curated restaurant delivery service Caviar is announcing the rollout of its mobile app today as well as service expansion to more areas of New York and San Francisco.
Unlike Seamless and other delivery apps that connect hungry customers to restaurants with a delivery infrastructure, Caviar picks up food from upscale restaurants and provides the transit. Think pork terrine and foie gras torchon rather than shrimp fried rice from the local Chinese takeout. The mobile app, like Caviar’s website, will display expertly photographed pictures of your choice dish. Special requests and menu alterations are also allowed.
Square acquired Caviar in August. The app serves as a counterpart to Square’s other food app, Square Order, which lets you order food and drinks before you arrive to pick them up. At the moment it mostly serves coffee shops and cafes.
Both Caviar and Square Order operate in a very crowded market. They don’t just compete with regular delivery options like Seamless. Delivery apps that offer to bring you anything and everything, like WunWun and Postmates, are also making a bid for restaurant delivery. Major companies like Amazon, which recently launched its own restaurant delivery service under Amazon Local, are looking to steal market share. It’s a tight space, and to date Square’s success in it has yet to be determined.
Square’s interest in food delivery is also bit curious. The company has put a lot more energy into developing its point of sale and back office offerings, like analytics, appointments, and inventory. And, in many ways, Square Order, which was launched as Square put its digital wallet to rest, feels like a side project — an easy offering the company could build into its existing framework. Square merchants simply have to flip a switch in their Square dashboard to turn on Square’s order-ahead function.
But the acquisition of Caviar shows this is a space Square really cares about. The mobile app will definitely help bring Caviar up to speed with other delivery apps out there, but with apps offering to deliver a laundry list of items in one go, Caviar may get edged out. Still, it’s possible that Caviar’s high-end focus will win the day.
Within the San Francisco Bay Area, Caviar will now be accessible in San Jose, Sunnyvale and Cupertino. Caviar is also expanding service to Brooklyn in New York.