Uber Eats Buys David Chang’s Food-Delivery Startup Ando

Uber Eats, the food delivery arm of Uber, has acquired Ando, a delivery-only restaurant started by Momofuku chef and culinary superstar David Chang. While Ando is branded as a restaurant, it has only been delivering food to customers’ doorsteps.

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How could Ando help Uber Eats?

The relationship between Ando and Uber is not new, but the former will now officially be part of Uber Eats. Ando was designed by Expa, a San Francisco-based startup lab built by Uber co-founder Garrett Camp. HoomanRadfar, an Expa partner, assisted Chang in creating Ando, notes The Verge.

“Starting Jan 22nd, 2018, we will no longer be serving customers in New York — online or via our Union Square location — as we will be immediately starting to integrate with Uber Eats,” Ando’s homepage stated.

Ando has not talked about how Uber Eats will utilize it. However, it did say that they had collaborated to make home delivery better, and now, their team and technology will make a greater contribution to Uber’s vision of building the world’s leading food delivery service. According to TechCrunch, acquiring Ando could be all about enhancing what is actually being delivered.

Uber Eats is a bright spot for Uber

While Uber has lately been mired in allegations and lawsuits, its food delivery arm has been a bright spot. According to a New York Times profile, the number of trips by Uber Eats has surged over 24 times between March 2016 and March 2017. Uber Eats has expanded into 120 markets around the world and is profitable in 27 of them. Moreover, in some markets, Uber Eats outperforms its ride-hailing business.

Chetan Narain, a lead product engineer at Uber, told FastCompany last year, “We focus on—here’s how much you sell each day and here’s how that varies every day.”

Narain stated that Uber’s wide reach enables restaurants to achieve higher efficiencies.

“We benchmark restaurant performance against other restaurants,” he explained.

Moreover, Chang and his team have worked hard to make the kitchen more efficient and cut the amount of time typically taken to deliver  food.

Growing amid challenges

Uber Eats is aware that the food delivery business is a tough nut to crack, and thus, to up its game and beat rivals, it has acquired Ando. Just a couple of days ago, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi stated on the sidelines of DLD conference in Munich that Uber Eats is growing fast to sprint ahead of rivals such as the UK’s Deliveroo and Germany’s Delivery Hero.

Deliveroo is working on a new model by developing satellite kitchens to prepare some of the food close to where it would be distributed. Deliveroo also acquired popular delivery service Maple last year. On the other hand, Amazon Restaurants is working on a model of serving as the delivery component for its restaurant partners.

“UberEats is absolutely exploding,” he said. “I think we’ll be the largest food delivery company in the world this year.”

Even though Khosrowshahi did not reveal anything about Ando back then, now it all makes sense.