Facebook super-sizes food ordering feature
- Facebook is officially rolling out an in-app "Order Food" feature to all U.S. users, according to a company blog post. Users can now order food for pickup or delivery directly in Facebook's iOS or Android app and website from a greater selection of restaurants.
- The feature aims to serve as a streamlined place for users to both connect with their go-to restaurants, discover new ones and place orders from both local joints and national chains in one location. The company has partnered with ordering services GrubHub, ChowNow, DoorDash and EatStreet, as well as restaurants such as Chipotle, Five Guys, Papa John's and Jimmy John's.
- People can use their existing login for one of the platform's delivery partners like GrubHub. If users don't already have an account, they can quickly register for one without leaving the Facebook app, according to the blog post.
Adding the Order Food tool aims to save users time, as they no longer have to open up multiple apps or tabs to browse individual restaurants and delivery services. Because some people already turn to Facebook to read restaurant reviews and check out locations or operating hours, the social media platform is trying to make that exploration and ordering process more streamlined and frictionless.
Facebook's initial test of food ordering in May started on a somewhat rocky note with technical glitches, according to TechCrunch. This recent expansion could signal that the kinks have been ironed out and that the service has gained traction among users. While Order Food at first appeared like it would directly compete with other options like GrubHub and DoorDash, the news shows that Facebook is instead partnering closely with those services in a way that will likely be beneficial for all parties.
For third-party ordering companies, Facebook's feature, which includes an easy sign-up process, will potentially draw in a swath of new accounts and customer data from the social platform's over 2 billion active users. For Facebook, it gets to keep those same users and their business within its walled garden as opposed to sending them off to other websites. Marketers and food brands can also more carefully monitor the path to purchase, serving ads on Facebook and then tracking whether that translates to menu browsing or a meal order online. This might be significant for a company like Chipotle, which is trying to reconfigure how its mobile business works.
Facebook has this year continued to introduce features that expand the breadth of what users can use its app for, including adding an online jobs board and professional network section called "discover people" that cribs from LinkedIn. It's also rolled out weather updates, a "city guides" travel section, local government information under "town hall," fundraisers and instant games.
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