After taking body shots at Netflix and Hulu last week by announcing that you will be able to take Amazon Prime Video offline (a service the other 2 video providers don’t offer) Amazon’s back this week with another announcement, and it seems they may be poised to take down GrubHub and Seamless in the very near future. In their quest to make sure that every single American dollar spent is a dollar spent through Amazon the online retailer has began piloting a hot food delivery service in their hometown of Seattle. The new service offers hot food delivered from local restaurants in under an hour, there is a catch though: you will need to be an Amazon Prime member (click here for free trial) in order to be eligible for Amazon’s new hot food delivery service.
In addition to bulking up on merchandise, the retailer in recent months has rolled out a booking service for handymen, began offering hotel reservations and prepared a competitor to crafts marketplace Etsy. Now Amazon is delivering hot food.
The Seattle retailer on Tuesday said it has begun fetching food from a handful of hometown restaurants from which it promises to make deliveries in under an hour. It’s only available to customers of the $99 Prime membership and works through Amazon’s existing one-hour merchandise delivery service.
Amazon suggested it will expand the service to other cities. Prime Now, as the one-hour service is known, is up and running in some of the larger U.S. cities like Chicago, Miami and New York. It relies on a network of Amazon employees and contractors using bicycles and cars to make drop offs in as fast as an hour for $7.99 or free for two hours or more.
Initially the hot-food delivery service will be free for Prime customers, but Amazon hinted that it may charge for it later. The company, for instance, requires a $300 subscription for its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery business.
The move puts it into competition with a host of startups including Uber Technologies Inc., which all promise fast delivery of prepared meals. But Amazon’s willingness to be patient and lose money on some projects for a long time makes it a particularly daunting competitor.
Amazon has greater resources than just about any company in the hot food delivery service game, GrubHub/Seamless and Uber included. If they want to put serious pressure on those companies and take a massive slice out of the hot food delivery service pie, they’ll do it. And you know what? I’ll 100% use Amazon for my hot food delivery. Even if they’re a supposedly evil company, they’ve got some of the best customer service around, and that’s what matters to me when ordering my dinner. I want to know that if the order’s f*cked up it’ll get taken care of in a timely manner, and I can trust Amazon to do that.
As mentioned before this new ‘hot food delivery service’ is similar to most of the perks on Amazon in that you MUST have an Amazon Prime membership to be eligible for their hot food order delivery service. If you’re not already an Amazon Prime member you can CLICK HERE for your free trial. The perks of an Amazon Prime membership include free 2-day shipping (which is SUPER USEFUL if you have a dog, like me, and order heavy bags of dog food online), you can now save videos offline (shows like Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm are available), and if you’re a reader there’s a massive library of free books in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. For those of you thinking “I don’t have a Kindle” you really need to check out the Overdrive app, which enables you to read Kindle books and other e-books on your iPhone and iPad.