IN A CITY already already comically crowded with well-funded startups promising to deliver your next meal, today is not a happy day: Amazon just announced it’s ramping up its one-hour Prime Now food delivery service in San Francisco.
That’s right: San Franciscans who already enjoy unlimited two-day shipping and video streaming for $99 a year can now also get food from 117 local restaurants delivered in about an hour. Available in 33 zip codes across the city, the service is Amazon’s biggest rollout of Prime Now food delivery to date, the company says.
Prime members place their orders through Amazon’s standalone Prime Now app, which also offers one-hour delivery of a wide range of everyday products. Aside from the Prime subscription fee, food delivery comes with no additional markups or fees. Amazon is also guaranteeing that people will pay the exact same price as is listed in restaurant menus. If you spot an item that’s priced higher on an online menu within 24 hours of placing the order, Amazon says it will refund you the price of your order.
At first blush, launching food delivery in San Francisco, where the field is already stuffed with rivals, might seem daunting. There’s Caviar and Munchery, Postmates and Sprig. Even Uber has jumped into the food delivery game.
But Amazon may be in a unique position to succeed. If its food delivery service works as well as Prime Now does for other products, Amazon already has an efficiency engine that seems tough to top. As a company that’s built its fortune on logistics, Amazon can seemingly just flip the switch to bring any new item into its delivery infrastructure.
The company first introduced Prime Now restaurant delivery in Seattle last September. Today it’s live in eight cities across the country, including Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Austin. While Amazon hasn’t guaranteed that food delivery will be free forever, at the moment it’s yet another perk that could rope customers into a Prime membership. In the end, getting more and more people hooked on Prime is exactly what Amazon wants.