UberEats coming to Kitsap County

Late one night, it hits you: a sudden craving for lamb sliders. The only problem? You're far from downtown and already in your slippers.

Uber's food delivery service, UberEats, aims to solve this problem when it debuts in Kitsap County on Monday.

Dozens of businesses have already signed on to participate, including Toro Lounge, Bremerton Bar & Grill, Aloha Kitchen, Tessio Pizza and McDonald's.

"Our desire is to make UberEATS available to as many people as possible in the places where we do business," UberEats spokesman Nathan Hambley said in an email.  "And we’re always looking to partner with restaurants who want to deliver great food."

UberEats is a separate app that works in a similar manner to Uber — anyone with the app can order food from participating restaurants and watch as a driver delivers it straight to their door.

Customers pay a flat $4.99 fee for delivery, with the option to tip drivers.

Participating businesses are located mostly in Silverdale and Bremerton. The service area at launch will stretch from Silverdale to Gorst, according to Hambley.

Kitsap makes sense as an expansion area, Toro Lounge co-owner Carlos Jara believes. With more people choosing to live in the West Sound and commute for work, Kitsap is going to have to keep pace with the amenities of Seattle, where UberEats has been available since 2015.

The app "allows us to be in that market without having to deploy anything,"  Jara said. Toro, which currently has the option for takeout but doesn't deliver, will get the added business from to-go orders without having to hire drivers or purchase additional insurance.

"It definitely allows people who want to try us out to try us out, but also people that enjoy our food that might not be wanting to have an evening out, they can now have the food delivered," Jara said. 

Other businesses, like Chester's Chicken and Indian Pacific Cuisine, plan to use UberEats to expand their range of customers. As part of a chain of Pacific Liquor stores, the business already offered delivery for libations. President PD Sandhu decided to use the commercial kitchen to expand his options.

While UberEats will only deliver the food, nothing is off limits for Sandhu: chicken, curry, beer, even groceries.

"It's a one-stop shop," Sandhu said.

Some small businesses are hoping the app will boost sales. Salad Shack owner Lanette Duchesneau operates her small eatery on Lebo Boulevard, which since May has been under heavy construction.

Duchesneau said the number of customers coming to the Salad Shack has plummeted because of the construction. Even still, she said she wasn't initially interested when Uber reached out to her.

UberEats takes a 35 percent cut of sales made through the app. Most restaurants offset that cut because they don't to hire drivers or buy advertising. But Duchesneau, who has three total employees, was wary of giving up that much income.

She ultimately decided to move forward after contacting other small businesses in Seattle and Tacoma that use the app. All of them had increased business by at least 10 percent, she said. 

"It is a tough decision to make, but if it increases the revenue it’s a good decision to make," Duchesneau said.

Her hope is that delivery orders will make up for customers lost and then some during construction.

"I believe it's going to work out for us," she said. 

Copyright 2017 Kitsap Sun


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