The meal delivery service connected to the ride-sharing company Uber will debut Wednesday in Billings.
UberEATS, which partners with area restaurants to deliver meals through a stable of local drivers, will be available to take orders beginning at 11 a.m. The UberEATS app is available for download in iOS and Andriod.
"We're trying it out," said Judy Boogman, who owns Caramel Cookie Waffles in Billings.
Caramel Cookie Waffles, apart from selling its famous stroopwafel cookies, does a brisk breakfast and lunch service and is severely limited on seating space. Boogman hopes that expanding their reach with UberEATS will allow them to serve more customers who increasingly find it difficult to find a table at the restaurant.
"Since we can't add space, this is our way of adding space," she said. "Cyber space."
Restaurants set their prices and then UberEATS adds a $5.99 booking fee. All of the costs are visible within the app. The service will be available throughout Billings and the Heights, but not in Lockwood. Initial participating restaurants include The Fieldhouse, Caramel Cookie Waffles, Oktoberfest German Cafe and Montana Club.
"We're partnering with some fantastic restaurants throughout Billings, so customers can now get the food they love quickly and conveniently," Kiran Vinta, UberEATS general manager, said in a statement.
The UberEATS app is separate from the ride-sharing Uber app, though both services operate on a similar principle, using smartphone technology to connect users with mobile services they need.
It's an attractive service for local restaurants. They can potentially expand their reach without having to a hire a delivery service or carry the liability of drivers.
Local residents can apply to drive for the service. Requirements for UberEATS couriers are less restrictive than those who drive with Uber, Vinta said.
UberEATS couriers can be as young as 19, compared to the requirement that Uber drivers be 21. Couriers can use a 2-door vehicle whereas Uber drivers must have a 4-door vehicle. Couriers also can use older vehicles. The vehicle age limit is 20 years with UberEATS as opposed to a vehicle age limit of 15 years for Billings Uber drivers.
Boogman said details are still in the works but she's hopeful the service will work out. Caramel Cookie Waffles has used delivery services in the past but has been disappointed with the results.
"In the past they haven't really been up to our standards," she said.