Uber To Launch ‘Dark Kitchens’ In Attempt To Expand Food Delivery Business

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Uber is launching a new front in its battle with Deliveroo by introducing kitchens that are dedicated to the food delivery app of the company.

In Paris, Uber Eats is conducting a scheme in which it lets out shared and fully equipped commercial kitchens to restaurants.

Shared kitchens do not cater to walk-in diners and exist solely to serve deliveries. They were first introduced by Deliveroo, a London-based food delivery competitor, in London and Paris in 2017.

Uber opened a test kitchen in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Ouen. According to a person who is familiar with the plans, It intends to expand the programme internationally to other markets, possibly in the United States and/or Latin America.

The San Francisco-based firm has entered into a partnership with a Kitch’n Box, a Parisian startup, to open its first shared kitchen, which currently serves fewer than a dozen restaurants in the area of Paris, as it looks to encourage more restaurants onto its platform.

An Uber spokesperson stated: “We are always looking at new ways to enhance the selection of food, while at the same time helping our restaurant-partners unlock the value of their business.”

He added: “In Saint-Ouen, we are currently working with a small number of restaurants to help them experiment with delivery-only business models from a shared commercial kitchen space.”

In the United Kingdom, Uber Eats has hugely expanded since its launch in London just more than two years ago, tripling its headcount in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to close to a thousand employees.

The news of the pilot comes after Travis Kalanick, the former chief executive of Uber, acquired a startup which also rents kitchen spaces. Uber Eats is a partner of CloudKitchens, his firm which supplies shared kitchen spaces to restaurants.

Last March 2018, Kalanick acquired City Storage Systems, its parent company after stepping down from Uber the previous year. He also continued to be a significant shareholder in Uber and sits on its board of directors.

Last year, Uber reported that Eats represented 16.5 pc of its gross bookings alone. Recently, LAst December, the firm filed initial paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States to take the company public in the coming months.