Online retailer Amazon.com Inc said on Tuesday it will begin offering its own restaurant delivery service to Prime members in Seattle, marking its first push into an increasingly crowded market for meal delivery known for razor-thin margins.
The exact objective of the division is unclear but the job description of at least one worker in the unit suggests Amazon is interested in expanding restaurant delivery services beyond Seattle, where recent media reports say the company is already testing its own meal delivery program.
“We obviously want to grow this”, Amazon Restaurants general manager Gus Lopez said in an interview.
Apparently, Amazon already has a meal delivery service in Seattle, where users can have dishes delivered by restaurant employees.
At launch, Prime Now is working with dozens of local restaurants on a rev-share basis, including Cactus, Wild Ginger, Skillet, Marination Station, Re:public, Café Yumm, Ten Mercer, Mamnoon and many more.
Some customers in Seattle, who have the Prime Now mobile app, will start seeing the new restaurant feature starting as early today, but it’s meant to be a slow roll-out, meaning that more neighborhoods will be added over the next couple of weeks. However, the company did indicate that it has a “high bar” for which restaurants it’s choosing to offer through its Prime Now service, which hints that it may be trying to compete on restaurant quality over breadth. However, those orders will be considered two separate transactions, and therefore, could arrive via two separate drivers.
The e-commerce company has dabbled in restaurant services in the past, allowing customers to order food through its platform Amazon Local, but those deliveries were handled by the merchants themselves.
“Customers can now order meal delivery from top-rated restaurants in their area”, The Verge reported.
Reuters has unearthed job posts on LinkedIn and Amazon’s site for a new Amazon restaurant division operating in Seattle in New York.