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UberEats takeout delivery service debuts in Buffalo

Uber drivers will be doing more, starting Tuesday, than taking passengers from Point A to Point B.

Drivers with the ride-sharing company also will be delivering takeout – from restaurants across the city.

UberEATS, an online marketplace, will start bringing prepared meals to customers with the tap of an app on their smartphones.

Jon Feldman, general manager for UberEATS in the state, said the company – which launched the food delivery service almost two years ago – is now operating on six continents in 26 countries and more than 150 cities around the world.

Buffalo, where Uber started operating about two months ago, is the newest city to get the UberEATS service.

"We've partnered with over 50,000 restaurants, globally,  to provide a meal for every taste and occasion," Feldman said Monday, during a news conference at Osteria 166 restaurant, 166 Franklin St., to announce the launch of the standalone delivery app in Western New York.

In the Buffalo area, more than 60 restaurants – from specialty dining establishments to name-brand restaurant chains – already have signed on to have their takeout meals delivered through UberEATS.

"What we focus on is delivering it reliably and quickly," Feldman said.

He said the company's focus is on getting meals to the restaurants' clients within 35 minutes, from the time an order is placed using the UberEATS app to delivery. The average order takes 35 minutes, 20 minutes for meal preparation and 15 minutes – on average – for delivery.

"Our mission is to make eating well effortless at any time for anyone," Feldman said.

Three different apps are required to order a meal for delivery. One is used by customers to place an order. Another is used by the participating restaurants to take meal orders on a computer tablet supplied by Uber. A third is used by Uber's drivers – or delivery partners, as Uber refers to them – to deliver an order.

The apps are separate from the one customers use for ride-sharing.

For those who already have accounts with Uber, it will be easy to add the extra app, Feldman said.

"The great thing is the customer can use the same Uber account," Feldman said.

Uber has developed its own custom technology for food delivery, which can track the whole delivery process on a map, he added.

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