Uber has announced the first major expansion of its grocery delivery service in the US. The company is more than doubling the number of service areas this week to north of 400 cities and towns. It now serves several major markets through the Uber and Uber Eats apps, including San Francisco, New York City and Washington DC.
The rapid expansion was partly fueled by a partnership with Albertsons Companies and its 1,200 grocery stores across the country. Albertsons owns brands including Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Tom Thumb and Randalls. Uber also offers delivery from regional chains such as Southeastern Grocers and New York’s Red Apple Group. Uber Pass and Eats Pass subscribers don't need to pay delivery fees on grocery orders over $30.
Grocery delivery became an important component of Uber's business during the toughest parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, because the number of rides people were taking dropped significantly. The company is also dealing with a driver shortage that led to higher prices for rides. Uber bought several delivery startups over the last couple of years to fuel its growth in that sector, such as Cornershop, Postmates and Drizly.