Uber Eats test drives this new food revenue stream

Uber Eats is now delivering culinary experiences as a way to hail a new revenue stream.

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The on-demand food ordering and delivery platform rolled out Uber Moments, allowing customers to book culinary experiences like dumpling-making classes and book a five-course dinner via the app, Forbes reported.

The food experiment is slated to run through Nov. 17 in the San Francisco market. Options include a $75 class on making Chinese dumplings and a $55 five-course Nigerian dinner and can be accessed under the new Moments tab on the Uber Eats app. Users in the Bay Area can search for "Uber Moments" on the Uber Eats app and find a time slot to book a single ticket or buy multiple for group dining experiences.

"We're always thinking about new ways to enhance the Eats experience," an Uber spokesperson told Forbes about the pilot program.

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Uber Eats has proven to be more costly than profitable for the ride-hailing platform. A report from investment firm Cowen in August estimated that Uber loses $3.36 on every order, and they expect that loss to shrink to $0.46 per order by 2024. It started testing out a number of new revenue streams this year, like a dine-in feature in July that would let users pre-order their food via the app and eat it at the restaurant in markets like Dallas, Austin, San Diego and Tucson. And in June, Uber Eats conducted test runs in June to deliver food by drone.

The $26.8 billion online ordering market is the fastest-growing segment of restaurant sales in the U.S., according to market research firm NPD group. Indeed, while digital food orders account for only 5% of all restaurant orders, the segment is growing around 20% annually while dining at restaurants is staying mostly flat.

Uber's effort to pivot into culinary experiences comes as delivery competitor DoorDash launched DoorDash Kitchens, partnering with restaurant chains like Halal Guys to open a shared kitchen space to offer delivery or pick up in Bay Area markets as a way to broaden its consumer reach.

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Uber Eats' entry into culinary experiences is similar to home and vacation rental marketplace Airbnb's Experiences vertical. The model offers thousands of tourism experiences from guided hiking tours, to glamping and cooking classes available for booking on the site.

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