Uber is set to expand its food delivery business to seven more New Zealand cities this year, including Napier and Hastings.
Elisa Janiec, head of Uber in New Zealand and regional Australia, said the roll out to smaller cities would be phased in throughout the year, starting with the lower North Island.
From April, the US ridesharing will introduce Uber Eats in Palmerston North, Napier, Hastings and Rotorua. Delivery fees will start from $4.99. It would be rolled out to two undisclosed South Island cities and another in the North Island later in the year.
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A spokesperson from Havelock North based Pipi Cafe said it is certainly an option they will provide but after testing their own delivery system over the Rugby World Cup they found people were still willing to come into the business.
"We maybe delivered to two houses when we did it, so it's something that I'm not sure will take off but it is certainly something we will offer as part of our ordering app," she said.
"It seems people in Hawke's Bay and Havelock North especially just tend to go out and get their food because everything here is close and it's not like a big city where traffic is a problem."
A Cafe Anatolia Napier spokesperson said it was an exciting prospect for the region.
"For us the majority of our customers are 'dine in' so although Uber Eats may be a good option going forward, we will need to look into how our customers will receive it and if they would use it."
Uber Eats was first introduced to New Zealand, in Auckland, in 2017. Uber has said in earlier interviews that it had been "blown away" by the uptake in the business in New Zealand.
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Janiec could not share any financials details but said the growth in its food business was strong and it now had more than 1000 restaurants using its platform nationwide.
She said the investment Uber had made into its latest advertising campaign, which reportedly saw the company pay reality TV star Kim Kardashian West $1.35 million to feature in the 20-second video, had paid off in the region.
"We saw very good year-on-year growth and that suggests that we're doing the right thing and ticking those boxes."
Publicly listed Uber lost US$8.5 billion ($13.3b) in the 2019 financial year, but it believes it can become profitable by the end of 2020. In the last three months of FY19, the company posted revenue of $4.1b ($6.4b).
Uber is busy at work trialling the concept of enabling everyday groceries to be delivered through its Uber Eats platform. It has partnered with a number of supermarket chains in Melbourne, including with Coles, which it says is showing "very promising" results.
It is looking to bring the concept to New Zealand.
Similarly to its model for delivering meals through Uber Eats, it wants to be able to deliver groceries or a single ingredient to users within the same 30-minute timeframe.
It has not yet been decided if the grocery offering would operate through its own app or via a grocery tag in the Uber Eats app, as it is being trialled through at present, she said.