Uber's attempt at world domination faced a setback recently, at least in Spain. The ride-sharing service, which was originally banned in the country, is now reshuffling its business to do something more traditional: delivering food.
Dubbed UberEats, customers in Spain can log onto the same Uber smartphone app and order prepared meals throughout Barcelona. Much like its counterpart UberFresh, which has taken off successfully in Los Angeles, Uber customers will be able to order directly from participating restaurants. The service will be a part of a partnership that was developed in conjunction with the Spanish foodie website, Plateselector.
The Wall Street Journal reported that after a Spanish judge prohibited Uber from operating in Spain, the company later announced that it would debut the new service with the promise of delivering food to customers in 10 minutes or less. UberFresh does the same thing in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.
"The global fame of Spanish gastronomy, the cosmopolitan character of Barcelona and Spaniards' great acceptance of new opportunities in the 'on-demand' economy are the main reasons the company chose Barcelona as the first city outside the U.S. to launch UberEats," the company said in a statement emailed to journalists.
For those interested in the fee, most dishes are reasonably priced at $11, with $3 an additional charge for delivery.
Uber, as a ride-sharing company, is facing backlash from unions, governments and taxi drivers around the world. Bans are lobbied against Uber in France, India, Thailand and South Korea. Protests routinely take place in Belgium and Germany. Criticism comes from as far away as Sydney, where the belief is that the company jacks up prices in its "surge pricing" model during times of crisis and strife.
Despite all the controversy involving Uber and its subsidiaries, the five-year-old San Francisco-based service continues to balloon in over 50 countries. In addition to that, the privately held company was recently valued by investors at more than $40 billion in its most recent funding round, so it appears that Uber, UberEats, UberFresh and whatever else the company decides to do, isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.