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Uber Eats, currently present in 73 cities with over 12,000 restaurant partners, claims India as its fastest growing market. Photo: Uber
Uber Eats, currently present in 73 cities with over 12,000 restaurant partners, claims India as its fastest growing market. Photo: Uber

Uber Eats forays into virtual restaurants with CCD

A virtual restaurant, also called a ‘digital eatery’, is a place with no storefront, and can operate out of a professional kitchen or existing restaurant

Uber Eats, the online food delivery service owned by Uber Technologies Inc., would foray into virtual restaurants in partnership with the Càfe Coffee Day chain in India, the two companies said on Friday. It will launch ‘delivery-only’ restaurant brands on the Uber Eats application.

A virtual restaurant is a place with no storefront, and can operate out of a professional kitchen or existing restaurant. These are also called ‘digital eateries’. The first restaurant sub-brand under this partnership is expected to launch in November in Bengaluru.

A recent entrant in the Indian food delivery segment, Uber Eats launched virtual restaurants in early 2016 and quickly expanded to over 10 cities, according to a Bloomberg report.

“Using experience and lessons learnt in the virtual restaurant space from our global operations, we hope to provide our Indian restaurant partners greater growth opportunities," said Jason Droege, vice-president at Uber Everything at Uber Technologies.

As a part of the partnership, Uber will leverage CCD’s food and beverage expertise and pan-India café network. CCD has over 1,700 outlets in 240 cities across the country. Uber Eats, on the other hand, will help CCD with data and analytics to help identify consumer preferences and launch menu offerings according to food trends for the sub-brand.

“With this association we aim to take the goodwill and trust earned in the F&B space and combine it with new-age reality of virtual restaurants to offer everyday meals that can be delivered to nomadic millennials at home or at work in a convenient manner," said Venu Madhav, chief executive officer at CCD.

Food-tech startup Hungerbox, which runs 160 digital cafeterias (corporate cafeterias operating through an app), raised $4.5 million from South Korean investment firm Neoplux in July.

Mint reported in May that Uber Eats was looking to expand into more non-metro cities. In the aggressive food delivery market in, Uber Eats competes with larger players, including Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd and Swiggy (Bundl Technologies Pvt. Ltd) and arch-rival Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd). Ola’s Foodpanda acquired Holachef Hospitality Pvt. Ltd for an undisclosed sum, Mint reported on October 16.

Uber Eats, currently present in 37 cities with over 22,000 restaurant partners, claims India as its fastest growing market. Bhavik Rathod, head of Uber Eats in India, told Mint in an interview earlier this year that the company was growing 50% month-on-month in India.

The number of food delivery orders on the Uber Eats application has grown six times over the last three months, according to the company. It claims to add 100 restaurant partners on the platform every day.

Sequioa-backed Zomato recently launched self-service pick-up on its application and is in talks to raise $400 million, largely from existing investors Ant Financial and Temasek, Mint reported in June.

Started as a separate application in 2015 in Toronto, Uber Eats entered the Indian market in May 2017.

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