Automologist MAC appreciates a hot home-cooked meal, so this new service has left him a little bit cold. 

Trawling through my SPAM email folder, as I do occasionally to make sure that I have not “mark(ed) as spam” something that I would want, I came across an advert for the new UberEats service for KL. Now, at first I thought ‘Uber Eats What?’. My credit card, perhaps. But, no. As I delved a little deeper into the spam, I discovered that this is a real food delivery service for grown-up people, who are obviously too scared of the big bad city to venture out themselves, and actually see what the real world has to offer. Or, is that a service for people too engrossed in the latest Game of Thrones episode and couldn’t possibly hit the pause button, get off their arses and pop down to the kitchen to prepare something fresh and wholesome.

Have you ever thought that in the future, we will be asking kids what came first, the chicken or the Styrofoam? In a few years’ time, I will probably be described as a complete Luddite as I insist on actually preparing a menu for the week, and then going out and shopping to get the ingredients for that menu—you know, actually going to the shop myself, and not order the stuff online and have a Tesco truck come over and deliver, and then going to the bother of actually cooking the meal myself. If the regular sight of the FoodPanda man or the Tesco delivery truck in my condo is anything to judge by, I think that day is coming sooner rather than later.

At the launch in Singapore. The delivery guy on the left doesn’t look happy.

The idea of receiving a take-away meal in non-biodegradable polystyrene does not appeal to me. The mere thought of all the congealing fat and the overcooked nature of it, and not really knowing what is in it—hey, my body is a temple!—and don’t get me started on the eco-impact that ordering a private gas-guzzling car to deliver a Styrofoam package directly to your front door does, particularly in a country that has no effective waste management programme. Have you not heard about the oceans filling up with plastic?

By the way, this is not a paid for advertisement.

Uber and McDonalds have pioneered the service in the United States of Lard Arses, where 5,000 of the 37,000 Macky-Dees now provide the service. McDonalds say that the service is profitable and popular, particularly as 75% of its customers live within three miles of restaurant. Apparently, the business is best where there is a young student population, with most deliveries coming late at night. Hmm, I wonder if the stats guys have cross-plotted increase in business in those states where marijuana is legal, ’cause sure sounds like late-night munchies to me.

Despite being everywhere, Uber has not yet made a profit, but UberEats is already firmly in profit, which is possibly more to do with the 30% it charges the restaurant for doing the delivery. There is global and local competition to UberEats, from the likes of Foodpanda and GrubHub and Postmates, and soon to be Amazon, with its purchase of Whole Foods retail chain in the US of A. But Uber may actually have a thing here; after all, it is pretty ubiquitous around the world now, having spent decades mapping cities, so it knows the best routes and have thousands upon thousands of drivers looking for something to do. There are already eight million users of this service in the US, according to reports, and it truly saddens me that there could be a whole generation of kids who never learn to bake cookies in the kitchen with their Mum. Excuse me now, for I am going back under the rock from where I came.

Okay, didn’t know they had a bike service as well.

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