Amazon is offering its own restaurant delivery service to Prime members in Seattle, marking its first push into an increasingly crowded market for meal delivery.
The new scheme will let Amazon customers order food from dozens of restaurants in the Seattle area using the company’s Prime Now app – with the delivery service coming at no extra charge.
Prime Now, launched last December in New York, promises one and two-hour delivery of tens of thousands of products and the new meal service is another way to add value to Amazon’s $99-a year Prime membership program, a core growth area for the company.
Analysts estimate that there are more than 40 million Prime members worldwide.
Similar to the order-tracking available today in Prime Now, customers will also be able to track their food delivery order in real-time as it’s prepped by the restaurant then as the driver hits the road, heading their way.
For restaurant partners, the service will allow them to tap into Amazon’s “best” customers – that is, those highly active Prime members who pay $99 per year for access to a host of benefits including free, two-day shipping on over 20 million items, and who maintain payment information in Amazon’s Wallet.
At launch, Prime Now is working with dozens of local restaurants on a rev-share basis, including Cactus, Wild Ginger, Skillet, Marination Station, Re:public, Café Yumm, Ten Mercer and Mamnoon.
But while there are no larger chains working with the company today, Amazon says that’s still an option.
However, the company did indicate that it has a “high bar” for which restaurants it’s choosing to offer through its Prime Now service, which hints that it may be trying to compete on restaurant quality over breadth.