Oak Park Consumer-to-Consumer: Uber Eats

Order lunch with your iPhone

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By David Hammond

I continue to be amazed and amused by the way the Youngs keep improving on the old models.

My glasses are from Warby Parker, a relatively new eyeglass company whose right-out-of-college founders asked the very reasonable question, "Why do people have to pay $500 for a pair of plastic frames?" (Answer: because we got used to it). Warby Parker frames are around $100, fashionable, inexpensive, and you can even use your computer cam to do a fitting online. For every pair I buy, they donate another pair to a needy person. Better, right?

We use regularly use Airbnb, a San Francisco start-up built on the time-honored tradition of couch surfing (staying at a friend's house when in town). We're even thinking of letting out our Oak Park home to people passing through who want to save a little money and perhaps meet the locals. We've stayed in Airbnb residences in Europe and Asia, have met some cool people, and saved a load of money sleeping in a real home rather than a hotel. Again, better.

Like Airbnb, Uber is part of the "sharing economy," giving everyday Joes and Joans a chance to make some extra money by driving their own cars to ferry people like me around. This may not be news to you, but it surprises me how many people (mostly over 50) are only vaguely aware of Uber and have never used it. So I'll topline it for you: just download the Uber app and hail a car using your phone; you pay less than a regular taxi, tipping is not part of the deal, and because the ride is automatically charged to your card, no cash or credit cards need be given to the driver when the ride is over. Way better.

Uber works brilliantly and the brand is spreading to other services, like food delivery.

Uber Eats is now in Oak Park, and you can use your iPhone app to order from local places like Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles, Jerusalem Café and Jamaican Grill, which we featured on this blog a few weeks ago. Delivery time is about 30-45 minutes, but you can set up deliveries in advance so that the food comes on a daily schedule, and all charges are made to your card through your iPhone. Lunch or dinner will run you around $10-15, service included. As with Uber's ride-sharing service, you'll get an alert on your phone when the food arrives (this alert is especially handy if you're in an office building, so you know when you can come down to get your food).

Last week, I ordered lunch through Uber Eats from Pancho's Cuisine in Riverside. I got a jibarito, a Chicago-original sandwich, first popularized in the Puerto Rican neighborhood of Humboldt Park. The jibarito is constructed of two smashed planks of plantain, fried and filled with meat, lettuce and tomato. This is a food I'd never make at home, so it was cool to have it delivered to my door in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable price. As with the Uber ride-sharing app, there's no tipping with Uber Eats and the delivery person told me the company officially discourages the practice.

In the office or at home with nothing in the refrigerator? Consider Uber Eats.

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