Starting today, Uber’s online food and beverage ordering business, Uber Eats, will deliver Starbucks coffee to customers in San Francisco. Over the next month, this will be extended to Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
Starbucks has actually operated a U.S. delivery service in conjunction with Postmates since 2015, but the ubiquitous coffee company has been increasingly turning to other delivery partners. Last August, Starbucks partnered with Alibaba in China — one of Starbucks’ biggest markets — to transform the country’s coffee industry through deliveries and big data. Starbucks also partnered with Uber Eats for a delivery service in Japan, and it operates delivery initiatives with local partners in a number of other markets, including India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile.
Starbucks also announced today that it plans to launch a new pilot in London this month, which will be the first European city to offer an Uber Eats-powered Starbucks delivery service, as well as rolling out trials in other countries around the world.
At its Q4 earnings in December, Starbucks indicated that in 2019 it planned to offer deliveries from around a quarter of its U.S. stores via Uber Eats — and today is the first step in that process. Indeed, the company has also stated that it planned to “leverage learnings” from its Alibaba-led delivery experience in China for its U.S. expansion.
“We’re building on key learnings from past delivery pilots, and by integrating our ordering technology directly with Uber Eats, we’ve unlocked the ability to bring Starbucks to customers for those times when they’re not able to come to us,” said Roz Brewer, group president and chief operating officer at Starbucks, in a press release.
As for Uber, well, Uber Eats is fast catching up with GrubHub in terms of food and drink deliveries, and according to some reports it has already surpassed its rival in the business realm. According to Uber’s expensing partner, SAP Concur, Uber Eats orders via business expensing has grown roughly 700 percent in the last year, which is why Uber launched a dedicated Uber Eats for Business platform a few months back.
According to Uber, coffee is one of the most-searched beverages through the Uber Eats app, and orders for the drink increased by more than 255 percent in the past year. So expanding its partnership with Starbucks makes a great deal of sense.