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A First Look at Uber Eats

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Uber Eats hit the streets of Dallas for the first time yesterday, giving office workers in a limited coverage area surrounding downtown access to new lunch options. The service fills hotbox-equipped cars with meals from a rotating cast of local restaurants, and stations them around the city. The company hopes to deliver a hot meal to your door in less than 10 minutes.

So how does Uber Eats measure up? I tested the app yesterday to see if Uber could deliver on its promise. Here's how it works:

Hungry office workers are presented a menu of three or so items cooked from a number of different restaurants around town. Yesterday's choices included a burger topped with brisket and cheese from The Rustic, a grilled goat cheese sandwich and carrot soup from Cafe Momentum and a grilled hanger steak salad from Smoke. Being a professional glutton, I ordered one of each.

I started my first order at 11:04 a.m., and two minutes later I got an error message: My order could not be completed because one of the items was no longer in stock. The app didn't tell me what item, though, so I randomly ditched the salad — who wants roughage, anyway? — and tried the order again. At 11:06 a.m. I was notified that my saladless order had been accepted and that Felicia would be delivering it in a Hyundai Sonata. I decided to wait downstairs.

I wish I could tell you what time Felicia arrived, but I was too busy watching a little fork icon make its journey through downtown, and watching cars in traffic trying to figure out which one Felicia was driving. I'm going to guess and say Uber just made the 10-minute goal, which my email receipt confirms. Felicia pulled up quickly, rolled down the window and started rummaging though her hotboxes. A burger and a grilled cheese sandwich were tossed in a paper bag along with two free promotional cupcakes. I asked Felicia if my $22 price included a tip and she said no, so I handed her four bucks and grabbed my bounty.

Back at my desk, I found myself moderately impressed. For $12, each entrée seemed fairly priced and of good quality. Both were reasonably warm. I'll give Cafe Momentum the win because that carrot soup had a really nice zing to it and was more interesting than your typical tomato soup sandwich-dipper. I won't judge the cupcake. It was free.

Uber has a fantastic idea here, but they'd do well to prioritize meals that carry well. I received my sandwiches at the beginning of lunch service, and I'm not sure I'd have been as enthused after either of these dishes had sat around a while. Cold sandwiches, salads and other plates would give Uber customers the most bang for their buck. If Uber Eats offered to deliver a cold Italian hoagie from Carbone's to my door for $12, I would say yes at any time of the day, any time of the week.

I gave Felicia five stars, and I'll give Uber a solid three with a promise to bump it up to four when they fix the inventory bug my salad order uncovered. If the drivers can keep this up, I think Uber is just a few lunch orders away from absolutely dominating the lunchtime food delivery scene. Curious for yourself? Here's the menu for today. Fire up your Uber app and get to ordering, and let us know how it goes in the comments.

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