Amazon dives deeper into food industry with free restaurant deliveries

Amazon says that Prime customers in London will be able to order from their favorite eateries through the Prime Now app.

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Baltic Restaurant, London

Amazon

Amazon has launched a new restaurant food delivery service in London as the company pushes deeper into the lucrative food and grocery market.

On Wednesday, the e-commerce giant said that Prime members in select London postcodes will be offered the option to order from their favorite restaurants for free in a pilot program, which if successful, is likely to expand across the city.

To access the service, Amazon Prime subscribers need to download the Prime Now application and type in their postcode to see if restaurant delivery is available in their area. If available, users will see the Amazon Restaurants page displayed, where they can browse participating restaurants and both their menus and prices, order and track their deliveries.

Amazon is working with a select number of restaurants in the program, including Baltic Restaurant, Crazy Bear, Benares, Kiru, Planet Hollywood, and Strada, among others.

Currently, London postcodes E1, E2, E3, E5, E8, E9, N1, N16, EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4, SW1, SW3, W1, SW3, W1, WC1, WC2, SE1, and SE11 are involved in the program.

The move is Amazon's latest effort to tap into the food and grocery industry. In February, Amazon and Morrisons inked a deal in which the latter would provide fresh and frozen food on the Amazon Prime and Pantry platforms. Morrisons, therefore, has been provided an online delivery outlet without needing to create their own, and Amazon moved another step forward in the quest to become a digital one-stop shop for consumer demands.

Morrisons is the UK's fourth-largest supermarket, trailing behind Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Asda. As consumers rely more on digital outlets for goods, however, online delivery platforms may become the new norm -- and so traditional outlets must stay ahead of the game if they are going to compete with those entering the foray -- including Amazon.

The push into restaurant delivery complements Amazon's grocery and fresh food expansion, but can also prove useful for local SMBs, too, which do not necessarily have online delivery systems set up. While rivals such as Just Eat and Hungry House may look at Amazon's latest quest in dismay, small businesses have another outlet in which to offer their wares.

"Home delivery is something we have long considered but haven't been confident that the food would arrive in best condition," said Daniel Creedon, head chef and manager of Archipelago.

"We believe with Amazon's experience and success in the US and their understanding of logistics here in London, they are perfectly placed to deliver a service which will ensure our food reaches our customers as it should."

See also: Amazon plans to recharge Prime Air drones on street lights

Amazon Restaurants delivery via Prime Now first launched in Seattle in September 2015, and the company quickly rolled out the program to other areas including Manhattan, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin. Customers can expect delivery within the hour, although Amazon claims the average delivery time recorded is less than 45 minutes.

Delivery is free with an order worth a minimum of £15 for Prime subscribers, but to entice users to try out the service Amazon is offering £10 off their first order using the code AMAZON10.

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