5 Marketing Lessons Learned From UberEATS

Living in Houston, a city with arguably one of the most diverse food scenes in the nation, it’s hard to have the time to try all of the great restaurants and different cuisines. Enter UberEATS, the latest venture from the technology company that revolutionized our transportation options. Now, with its own independent app, UberEATS makes it possible for you to explore different cuisines at the tap of your smartphone screen. While I may have first fallen in love with the convenience and tasty treats UberEATS brings me for lunch, I’ve also learned some valuable marketing lessons from the brand. 

1. Develop meaningful partnerships. From the very beginning, UberEATS differentiated itself from other food delivery services by establishing unique and meaningful relationships with the restaurants who joined the network. Prior to launching in each city, UberEATS developed operations and marketing roles where the top priority was to interface with restaurant partners and grow the business through relationships with top-notch cafes, food trucks, and eateries in each city. Making relationship-building its top strategic goal has allowed UberEATS to grow and continue on-boarding new restaurants in the process.

  • Instead of simply acting as a delivery or concierge service, UberEATS provides value to its restaurant partners through the exclusivity of its Instant Delivery options and cross-promotional opportunities.
  • Instead of leaving the delivery process up to its staff and drivers, UberEATS truly involves its restaurants in the entire process. Restaurants work with UberEATS to brainstorm and develop ways to make their menu options delivery-friendly as well as choosing the delivery range for their meals.
  • Additionally, restaurants, especially small mom and pop shops, don’t have large marketing budgets. UberEATS offers a unique opportunity to restaurants and food trucks by introducing their cuisine to a previously untapped market through its marketing efforts and existing customer base. 



2. Start small and test. UberEATS established test markets for its standalone app, launching first in Toronto before rolling out to Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and San Francisco. This slow rollout strategy allowed UberEATS to monitor feedback and react in real time, fixing bugs and responding quickly to diffuse any issues with customers. This strategy not only allowed the brand to test its new app, it also allowed for the launch to be customized by city. Starting small and testing in markets where the company had already demonstrated success with its functionality within the main Uber app, made for a smooth launch.

3. Innovate and adapt. When UberEATS first launched as part of the main Uber app, the low price point and lack of delivery fee was a huge draw. This differentiated it from apps like Favor and GrubHub where, with surging prices, tips, and delivery fees you could pay up to $20 for a smoothie!However, UberEATS still needed to adapt to reach a larger audience—those with more specific food desires and requests. Its original menus only offered five dishes per day and because they were delivered instantly, customization wasn’t possible. Now, the standalone app allows users to add special instructions to their order (excluding instant delivery). UberEATS was also able to see which restaurants were most loved, and offer more of their dishes, more often. According to the UberEATS website, “Find what you’re craving, and we’ll handle the rest.”

4. Listen to your customers. Customers wanted more options, and were willing to pay a bit more for customized deliveries and better food. Social media was used as a listening platform for the brand to find out what it needed to keep, lose, or adapt. Of note, many customers were disappointed with the lack of vegetarian options in the original app, remedied by the inclusion of more restaurants and meals. Another common piece of feedback was the inability to find customer reviews of the food and restaurants without having to switch to Yelp or another review site. With the launch of the new app, users have the opportunity to rate their food and driver.

5. Create relevant and timely content. Uber is always on top of the trends, and like its parent company, UberEATS has followed suit. By offering surprise and delight deliveries like free holiday cookies or tamales with meals, UberEATS was able to take advantage of timely content that was relevant to the communities it served. When it comes to social and search, we marketers know that content is king. By continuously creating engaging content on these channels and sharing user-generated content—namely, food photos (because who doesn’t love food photography?)—UberEATS’ social media is fun to follow! In addition to the value UberEATS provides to customers through its content, including knowing what’s on the menu for the day, UberEATS also provides value to its eatery partners by creating content they can repurpose which helps introduce them to new customers.

Living in Texas has introduced me to new food and new experiences, which have been magnified by the introduction of UberEATS. I’ve learned to pronounce new Vietnamese and South American dishes while also gaining some insight into what really works for UberEATS and how I can apply it to my clients’ marketing. 

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