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Uber Eats is testing a new feature to bring you back to restaurants

Uber Eats is expanding into a new area: eating in, offering diners in several US cities the option to order food before delivering themselves to the restaurant to eat it.

Yes, it seems silicon valley has managed to invent ‘going to a restaurant’, and diners in Austin, Dallas, Phoenix and San Diego can be among the first to try out this new invention. 

But how does it work? If you’re in the above cities, and any new ones the feature rolls out in over the next few months, you can select dine-in as an option next to the delivery and pick-up option, and choose whether you want to eat ASAP or schedule your arrival time. 

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You’ll be shown how long your food will take to prep, the distance to your table and the price, in addition to a rating system for the restaurant. You show up, the food is ready for you to eat, you leave a tip via the Uber Eats app or just on the table. 

It’s an oddly transactional approach to eating out which likely won’t be for everyone, but it will offer a different option to people who would prefer not to bin their own take-out wrappers, or want to eat somewhere with a focus on presentation instead of chowing down on the contents of several cardboard containers. 

For Uber, the appeal is obvious: this is a way to generate revenue for them that doesn’t require paying drivers, letting them generate income with basically no overheads. As a result, expect to see this rolled out in as many places as they can manage over the next few months. 

If it works, Uber Eats will occupy an interesting space in the market as the app you go to for food, whether that’s 2am post-pub grub, or ducking out for a night on the town. It’s an enviable position, if Uber can pull it off.