Like Deliveroo overseas and DoorDash in the U.S., Uber is testing its own virtual kitchen concept.
While the company hasn’t officially announced a delivery-only kitchen, an unnamed Bloomberg source told the publication that Uber has been leasing kitchen space in Paris and renting them to restaurateurs—much like other shared kitchen startups.
That would put Uber back in the mix with the embattled former CEO Travis Kalanick, who left the company and invested almost immediately in “smart kitchens” with a company called City Storage Systems. The company has been operating in Los Angeles and has plans to expand along the West Coast and possibly China.
And while Grubhub remains focused on delivery growth, it has also invested in Green Summit Group, a startup with nine virtual restaurants operating out of a shared kitchen.
All their efforts move them toward age-old vertical integration. By providing the food themselves, delivery providers can cut out the most contentious aspect of their operations: restaurant fees. But it also ensures that food made in such virtual restaurants is delivery friendly and packaged right. And without the unknown variable of the restaurant in the mix, drivers could get more precise delivery times and ultimately happier end customers.
It will be interesting to see where this nascent part of the foodservice industry is a year from now, but if early indicators hold true, the restaurant industry is in for a shake-up and the delivery players have a new battleground.