Restaurant News

McDonald’s now delivers through UberEATS. But will the app ask: Want fries with that?

UberEATS is delivering McDonald’s food from more than 200 McDonald’s restaurants in Florida, including 134 locations in Miami-Dade and Broward. It’s the first large pilot test in the country for the service.
UberEATS is delivering McDonald’s food from more than 200 McDonald’s restaurants in Florida, including 134 locations in Miami-Dade and Broward. It’s the first large pilot test in the country for the service.

If you deserve a break today, you can now get McDonald’s delivered to your door. Are you lovin’ it, Miami?

The fast-food giant and the on-demand restaurant delivery service UberEATS are about to find out.

Beginning Monday in McDonald’s first large-scale test of this app-enabled delivery service in the nation, UberEATS and McDonald’s are partnering to test delivery from 134 McDonald’s locations in Miami-Dade and Broward, as well as 55 restaurants in Orlando and 30 in the Tampa Bay area. If the tests are successful, McDonald’s may expand the service to other markets around the nation, said Pam Williams, director of growth platforms for McDonald’s USA.

“We are most certainly very interested in the fast-growing delivery business, not just in the U.S. but globally, so we are excited about the opportunity to provide even more convenience and more accessibility to our customers who have essentially been asking for us to deliver,” she said, cautioning that this is a pilot test, although it is available in 70 percent of McDonald’s locations in Miami-Dade and Broward. “In all of the tests we do, the most important thing is we want to hear from our consumers and hear their feedback.”

Customers can now place McDonald’s orders via the UberEATS mobile app or at UberEATS.com, and track their order as an UberEATS delivery partner brings their meals to them. The full menu at participating McDonald’s restaurants will be available for delivery with the exception of soft serve cones and promotional items such as McPick 2. An UberEATS booking fee of $4.99 applies to each order.

In the last couple of week, UberEATS has begun deliveries for about 10 McDonald’s restaurants in Miami-Dade, said Peter Hsu, UberEATS Florida general manager. Hsu insists UberEats, powered by its Miami area network of 10,000 drivers, is well positioned to deliver the fries hot and milk shakes cold. “The best way to maintain food quality is to deliver quickly and that is something Uber is uniquely poised to do really well.”

What did people order? “I can tell you the largest order placed was 33 items, the most chicken nuggets delivered in one order was 80 and one customer ordered 22 times in 12 days,” he said.

Alex Menendez, whose family owns and operates 17 McDonald’s restaurants in the Miami-Dade area, said two of his restaurants, one in Kendall and another in Doral, have already been delivering via UberEATS. Now, seven more of his locations have joined the platform and four to five more are being readied, he said.

Menendez wouldn’t give numbers of orders filled so far but said customer feedback so far has been good. “They have all been pretty positive about it and we excited to get more stores on it,” said Menendez. One family who regularly enjoys the All Day Breakfast on weekends at one of his McDonald’s also now likes the delivery, he said. Another customer, who is pregnanat, ordered a parfait at 10 p.m. because that was what she craved.

The service is “growing by the day,” he said. “More than anything it was about training people properly, but once you have it up and running, it is pretty seamless.”

For UberEATS, this is its first large-scale pilot test with a fast-food chain, said Hsu, noting that UberEATS is in 50 cities across 20 countries around the world. “We see what people search for, and McDonalds is searched for everyday so we are excited to bring people the food that they want.”

As part of its move beyond ride-hailing, Uber launched UberEATS in the central Miami area with about 100 restaurants in July, within a month of when arch rival Amazon launched Amazon Restaurants in South Florida. UberEATS quickly added Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and South Miami and has since expanded the delivery area west to Kendall and Doral and north to Hialeah and Miami Lakes in Miami-Dade and into Broward north to Pompano Beach and west to Weston and Sunrise. It now features 1,000 restaurants in the area, said Javi Correoso, Uber’s spokesman in Miami.

What’s driving this on-demand delivery trend is millennials’ preferences for more varied and healthier food options delivered conveniently via a few clicks on an app, according to NPD Group’s food-market research. The urbanization of downtowns — like Miami’s — swarming with young professionals also provides the density to potentially make these business models work.

NPD expects rapid growth in on-demand restaurant delivery with players like UberEATS and Amazon now in the mix. NPD forecasts that restaurant delivery will continue to outpace overall restaurant industry traffic growth over the next decade.

McDonald’s has had a well-reported problem reaching millennials; a Wall Street Journal report last year revealed 80 percent of millennials had never tried its flagship Big Mac. In an effort to lure the younger demographic, McDonald’s has begun rolling out healthier menu items and recently announced that mobile pay and ordering will begin rolling out this year in its stores. McDonald’s also has been adding self-order kiosks, table service and digital menu boards in more of its U.S. markets — and now it is trying delivery.

“Consumers have gotten used to more added convenience for everything in their life, they are ordering all sort of things these days that they want directly delivered directly to their home ... and they are willing to pay a delivery fee for that. We want to play in that area as well and make sure to bring them McDonald’s,” Williams said.

So before you say “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun,” a Big Mac could be on the way. ... Or perhaps a salad and unsweetened iced tea instead.

Nancy Dahlberg: 305-376-3595, @ndahlberg

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