Uber Eats launched in Oxford on Thursday, offering food delivery from local restaurants and establishing itself as a direct competitor to Landshark Delivery, a locally owned delivery service.
The Oxford launch comes in the same week Uber Eats began offering services in two Alabama college towns, Auburn and Tuscaloosa, according to Uber spokeswoman Evangeline George.
“Whether it’s scheduling a meal to arrive after class or ordering during a late-night study session, we’ve seen a great response from college students to Uber Eats,” George said. “Uber Eats is available in more than 200 cities, and we’re expanding to more and more colleges.”
George said she can’t share the specific number of Uber drivers on the road in Oxford but said that “similar to giving people rides through Uber, delivering food through Uber Eats offers drivers another flexible earning opportunity.”
“With a vast network of Uber driver-partners already on the road in Oxford, Uber Eats customers can count on fast delivery,” George said.
Johnathan Deschepper, general manager at Landshark Delivery, said that at any given time, the company has about 25 people available to deliver food.
“We’re currently selling about $3 million a year worth of food,” Deschepper said. “I do about 175,000 orders a year, which provides substantial tax revenue for the local economy.”
Landshark Delivery was cofounded in Oxford by Alabamians Robert Bettis and Tanner Thompson in May 2015 after working for a similar company in Tuscaloosa.
Ahead of Uber Eats’ launch in Oxford, the company worked to partner with local restaurants and bring them onto the platform, George said.
She said the average delivery time for Uber Eats orders will be around 35 minutes.
According to Deschepper, the average delivery time for Landshark Delivery is between 30 minutes and an hour.
Deschepper said he is sure the introduction of Uber Eats will affect Landshark Delivery to an extent but touted the positive aspects of ordering delivery via a local company.
“I think that we provide high-paying jobs for our local community, and we’re also cheaper to the restaurant and our customers,” Deschepper said.
Deschepper declined to comment when asked how Landshark Delivery plans to compete and whether or not they will make any changes to the way they operate.
“We have certain things in place, but we don’t necessarily want to share all of our competing efforts … for operational safety’s sake,” Deschepper said.
He pointed out some of the differences between using the services of the Oxford-based company and those of the Silicon Valley tech giant.
“Whenever you call up here to Landshark, it’s really easy to get in touch with a person,” Deschepper said. “You know, we add a very personable experience to the delivery aspect, whereas you’re just dealing with some random person from Uber.”
Several Oxford restaurants are available on both Uber Eats and Landshark Delivery, including Moe’s Original Bar B Que, Grilled Cheese City, Pita Pit, Old Venice Pizza Company, Pick Thai, Square Pizza and Phillips Grocery.
Prices for the same items at some restaurants vary between the two services. For example, an order of “redneck nachos” from Moe’s Original Bar B Que costs $13 from Uber Eats versus $11 from Landshark Delivery. At Old Venice Pizza Company, a large “great white” pizza is $19.99 from Uber Eats versus $21.99 from Landshark Delivery.
Bettis said Landshark Delivery isn’t too worried about Uber Eats.
“Of course, we shouldn’t underestimate the competition,” Bettis said. “However, we’re more suited to the market due to our loyal customer base, knowing the delivery process inside and out and (being) less expensive than the competition on most restaurants offered.”
Senior education and classics major Cole Durrett said he used Uber Eats to order some fast food to his house on the day it launched. He received an email notifying him of the launch because he uses the Uber app.
He said he has used Landshark Delivery before and believes Uber Eats is faster.
“Uber Eats definitely took less time, so I like that,” Durrett said. “(I’m) more familiar with Landshark, obviously, and the interface. I’ll probably slowly transition to Uber Eats, honestly.”
Senior integrated marketing communications major Rachel Lane said she was excited for the launch and called it a “game-changer.”
“One of my best friends lives in Philadelphia, so I used it there and have been dying for it to come here because other competitors in Oxford are a little expensive for my budget,” Lane said.
Lane added that she orders food through Landshark Delivery “all the time” but said the cost difference between the two services will determine which service she uses in the future.