Uber dominates the news this week! The biggest news was their Go/Get announcement that is bringing changes to the platform in more ways than one. Also, learn how a Grubhub promotion created what has been called a ‘war zone’ in NYC. All this and more in this week’s roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins.
Uber unveils new products for business travelers, wedding parties, and EVs (The Verge)
Summary: Uber held its second annual product event today, at which the company announced new features for business travelers, group rides, and electric vehicles. The news comes as the company’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is renewing his efforts to make Uber’s core ride-hailing product profitable through cost-cutting and a hiring slowdown.
Just because Uber is trying to rein in its costs doesn’t mean it will stop rolling out new features in its ongoing effort to win new customers (or retain its current customers) and expand into new fields. Since the pandemic, Uber has pivoted away from trying to be the “Amazon of transportation” and toward a more streamlined version of itself as a car service with a thriving delivery business.
In a blog post, Khosrowshahi said that Uber’s new suite of products falls under two categories: “go anywhere” and “get anything.” The former is focused on transporting people, while the latter is geared toward the company’s takeout food and grocery delivery business….
My Take: Check out Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s video announcement here:
It addresses going green, voice assistant integrations (ordering with your voice instead of physically on your phone), linking with Gmail to track your travel information, Uber Travel offering 10% cash back for reservations, Uber Charter specialty buses, Uber Eats/Postmates at select ballparks, and more.
Additionally, Uber announced a slew of new features coming for electric vehicle drivers. Check out our coverage of Uber’s EV news here.
As a consumer, these perks all sound great. However, one thing that is not exciting is that along with this Go/Get mentality, Uber has also said they will be cutting costs and slowing down hiring. Drivers are wary because this may mean fewer promotions and incentives for drivers.
But of course, cutting costs is not going to stop them from offering new services. We’ll see how it all shakes out a year from now.
‘This can’t be real’: Grubhub promotion turns New York City restaurants into a ‘war zone’ (The Guardian)
Summary: What were they thinking?
That’s what customers, restaurants and delivery workers want to know after a surprise promotion by the food delivery platform Grubhub went badly awry – and proved there’s really no such thing as a free lunch.
Grubhub’s plan was ambitious: to feed everyone in New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area for free, during lunch hours on Tuesday. The platform cited a survey it had conducted that found that 69% of working New Yorkers said they had skipped lunch.
But that’s exactly what the stunt ended up doing, after Grubhub’s platform crashed as New Yorkers rushed to place orders. The fiasco left restaurants overwhelmed, delivery workers frustrated, and many customers with empty stomachs….
My Take: First of all…who would have approved such a crazy idea? Of course it’s going to go wrong! You’re literally offering a free lunch to people. No one is going to say no to that offer!
I feel so bad for all of the restaurants, drivers and customers who were royally screwed by this.
You can’t just say, “Yeah that sounds great” and run with it. You have to consider the upsides and downsides to make sure it’s actually worthwhile and will actually produce the results you want or expect. I can’t even begin to describe how ludicrous this sounds.
And not even giving the restaurants a heads up? They could have staffed up and been better prepared for something like this if they’d have known ahead of time!
Also in the news…
Uber, Grocery Outlet partner to pilot on-demand and scheduled grocery delivery (TechCrunch)
Thoughts: We’ve seen Uber expanding more and more. Grocery is a logical extension for them. It’ll be interesting to see how their grocery delivery compares to established platforms such as Instacart.
The Decade of Cheap Rides Is Over (Slate)
Thoughts: This goes along with the earlier article on the Go/Get announcements. Cost of services on Uber is going to do nothing but go up from here. They need to produce a profit sooner rather than later.
What do you think of Uber’s new offerings? Any of them catch your eye?
-Paula @ RSG