In 2014, Uber launched two notable expansions to its core ride-hailing service: Uber for Business, which makes it easier for employees to bill their trips to their company; and UberFresh, later rebranded as UberEats, which repurposes Uber’s transport network infrastructure to get meals delivered to your home on-demand.
So it makes sense that Uber is now bringing these two products together to launch a brand new service called … Uber Eats for Business.
Business travelers may need to hail a ride to cover any number of scenarios, be it to get them to and from the airport or from a conference to their hotel. But they also need to eat while they’re away, so rather than always having to dine out or arrange delivery through their own account, they can now order food and have it billed directly to their company.
Of course, this isn’t just limited to business travelers. It can be used in any work scenario — for example, if someone is staying late at the office, or if there’s a big lunchtime meeting.
From the company’s perspective, this means they can more easily manage employee expenses because everything is automated as soon as they place their food order. But more than that, Uber Eats for Business also enables companies to set parameters on things like per-meal allowances, location, and even what time of day meals can be ordered.
For example, a company admin can stipulate that meals can only be ordered after 6 p.m. on weekdays, while they can geofence orders so that they can only be made while an employee is in a specific office. Additionally, they can stipulate that employees can’t spend more than, say, $15 on a single order. That doesn’t mean an employee can’t place a larger order, it just means that anything over and above the set limit will be charged to their own personal account.
On the user end, they can just toggle between their personal and business Uber Eats accounts, each of which have their own individual billing methods.
The global food-delivery market is a $100 billion industry, and according to Uber’s longtime expensing partner SAP Concur, Uber Eats orders via business expenses have grown 700 percent in the last year. Uber Eats is fast catching up with GrubHub, and according to some reports it has already surpassed it in the business realm.
By integrating Uber Eats into Uber for Business, this removes much of the manual labor formerly required from both the employee and the company, while it also ensures employees only order when they’re allowed to and within a set budget.
“We created Uber Eats as a way to provide quick, reliable food delivery,” noted Uber for Business head Ronnie Gurion. “But it didn’t take long before we learned that this isn’t just something you need when you’re at home. By integrating into Uber for Business, this new offering provides companies with the same granular controls, reporting, and billing features that they’ve come to expect when using Uber for ground transportation.”
Uber Eats for Business is being made available to all U.S.-based organizations from today, and a spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat that it will roll out globally in time — but no time-frame has been given.