Car service Uber has a new program in which Dallas diners can demand lunch on their smartphone and receive it in 10 minutes or less.
Don't tell the competition, but that sounds freaky fast.
UberEATS operates in Dallas Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch will cost $8 to $12.
So far, the company is partnering with smaller, local businesses instead of non-local chains.
"We really want to give Uber users a local taste of the city -- really high-quality food that they're going to be excited about," says Elyse Knopf, UberEATS regional expansion lead. The service will deliver meals from "not only mom and pop shops [but also] new, popular, trendy restaurants and classic restaurants."
On Day One, Uber delivered food from Smoke, Cafe Momentum and the Rustic.
Kyle Noonan, co-owner of the Rustic, sees an UberEATS partnership as a marketing strategy. "I'm excited about aligning with a power brand like Uber," he says. "It's good company to be in." He also hopes the service will help him spread the word about the Rustic as a restaurant. The place is well known for its large backyard concerts and high alcohol sales -- one of the highest of any standalone restaurant in Texas, in fact. "It's not easy to produce a diverse, high-quality menu on the scale that we do," he says. "I think a lot of people forget about it, in a way."
As part of UberEATS, he sees yet another way to talk about the Rustic in terms of food, not just drinks and music.
UPDATE: UberEATS will now serve diners in Highland Park, the Medical District, Knox-Henderson, Greenville, downtown Dallas, Uptown and Oak Lawn.
The 10-minutes-or-less lunch delivery isn't a guarantee, it's worth noting. The Chicago Tribune reported a 17-minute delivery early after its UberEATS launch, for instance. I'll test out the delivery here once it launches.
Expansion beyond Dallas is possible, Knopf says, but not imminent. They didn't have plans yet for Fort Worth or the Dallas-area suburbs.
For participating businesses in Oak Cliff such as Bolsa Mercado, the service will not reach its neighborhood initially. Justo Blanco, director of operations for Bolsa Mercado, says he signed on with UberEATS in part because of the allure that UberEATS could expand to the other side of the Trinity River someday.
"I want to serve the neighborhood," he says. "I've kept us out of some partnerships because I knew they would pick up food from Bolsa or Bolsa Mercado and not even bring it down the street to me, at my home [in Oak Cliff]." He's hopeful UberEATS will expand its service area quickly.
Austin and Houston already have the on-demand lunch delivery service. Dallas marks the 13th city worldwide with UberEATS.
Dallas is a crowded space for delivery services, with companies such as Caviar, DoorDash and GrubHub also in operation. But whereas those companies deliver food from dozens of restaurants or fast-food joints in Dallas, UberEATS fixates on just three or four dishes per day, sometimes by restaurants not supported by the other delivery services.
UberEATS deliveries are available via the Uber app. Uses will choose "eat," then pick lunch from the menus offered. Uber will automatically charge users' saved credit cards, no tips accepted.