I ordered Uber Eats from LA to Florida. Here’s what happened
Uber's latest convenience is having favourite snacks delivered from one corner of the States to the other
Ah, Uber Eats. Who doesn’t enjoy kicking back and watching as somebody else picks up your takeaway and brings it right to you? It feels great at the time, though maybe not so great the day after. And let’s admit it, most of us have ordered from a restaurant within walking distance. But what if you want to go a littler further afield?
Across the pond, Uber Eats’ latest delivery service now lets you order from across the country. Dubbed Nationwide Shipping, US customers can buy food items from select locations and have them freighted to you, wherever you are in the States.
Is this a smart cookie, or something more akin to a pan fire? To find out, we tried ordering from Los Angeles to the sunshine state of Florida.
Cook at 180: The lowdown on Uber Eats’ Nationwide Delivery
Right now, Uber Eats users anywhere in the United States can order from select locations using Nationwide Shipping. LA, Miami and New York have kicked things off, with a promise of more cities to come soon. It all happens inside the Uber Eats app, so is no different to ordering your favourite pizza.
As for the types of goodies on offer, there’s a mix of grocery stores, desserts, bakeries, delis and meal kits. Which is quite the range. All the restaurants offer pre-packaged meal kits to prevent food spoilage, but the bakeries and dessert shops let you order baked goods just like you’d walked inside.
That’s a curious decision, considering the way your food gets shipped: Uber Eats uses bog-standard FedEx delivery. Not only does this take 5-7 days, but it also means that your cookies are tumbling around the hold with regular ol’ parcels. A pro for being slightly less damaging to the environment, but a big fat con for getting your cookies fresh.
It hopped on the plane at LAX: next stop Florida
The near week-long delivery estimate made us rethink our order. There are plenty of tempting bakery options in the Big Apple, but we enjoy fresh cookies – not stale ones. In the end, we chose some elderberry flavour vitamin gummies from a store in LA. Tasty and healthy, right?
You place the order through the app like any other. Right now Uber Eats covers the cost of Nationwide Delivery, which is pretty nifty, but we’re not so sure how long that’ll continue. Which just leaves the gummies to pay for, at a mere $20. That’s LA for you.
Once your order is in, you don’t get a delivery tracking screen in the Uber Eats app. Rather, you get an email from FedEx. To monitor anything about your order after placing it, you’ll have to use FedEx’s website. The delivery was scheduled for 5 days later, which was at least on the lower end of the estimate.
After 5 days enjoying some Florida sun, the gummies arrived in a regular brown box, barely any different to an Amazon order. Inside, just the gummies. And that was that. We couldn’t help but feel a little mugged off by the experience. Not even a branded box?
Uber Eats Nationwide Delivery: the verdict
Ordering food cross-country sounds ridiculously decadent, so we were eager to try it out – but the whole experience was a little underwhelming. Not that we had visions of In-n-Out burgers getting their own seats on private jets, but Uber Eats’ hands-off approach definitely put a damper on things. You might have well just ordered from any online retailer.
Having your order chucked on a FedEx plane that was making the trip anyway is about as climate-friendly as something like this could get, but you’ll need to plant a lot more trees to make up for it than you would having a bloke on a moped bring you a Chinese takeaway from around the corner.
Uber Eats might be covering the delivery fee right now, but it’s unlikely that will last forever. FedEx quoted us between $10 and $20 to ship a box of similar size from LA to Florida – imagine a meal kit for a family of four, plus the packing material to keep it from turning to crumbs on the journey. No thanks.
We get it: sometimes you’re desperate for a certain brand and just can’t get it locally. But beyond candy and other packaged goods, we’re not convinced people will be queueing up to have pastries they could use in the discus event at the next Olympics delivered to their door.
While we’re huge fans of the next big thing – but this just isn’t it. Sorry, Uber Eats, back on your bike. Anyone else feeling hungry now?