According to The Nikkei Asian Review, restaurant operators in Japan are turning to IT companies like Uber Technologies to improve delivery services, as demand from busy parents and the elderly increases but workers become more difficult to attract and retain.
The moves are part of a larger trend to break down the border between traditional brick-and-mortar businesses and digital services. A growing number of companies are crossing over into each others' realms.
McDonald's Holdings (Japan) announced on Monday that it will introduce Uber's food-delivery service, UberEats, to 33 Tokyo locations starting Thursday. The fast-food chain's own McDelivery service is currently available at a cost of 300 yen ($US 2.69) for orders totaling 1,500 yen or more. UberEats costs 380 yen, but has no such minimum, making it easier for a single household to use.
Customers can place an order through UberEats' smartphone app or website. A registered Uber driver then picks up the food and delivers it. McDonald's Japan will be able to reduce costs because it won't have to pay for delivery staff or their transportation. With the tie-up, the fast-food chain hopes to expand its delivery business. Some McDonald's Japan locations haven't been able to keep up with delivery orders due to a labor shortage.
Eat & Co., which operates Chinese restaurant chain Osaka Ohsho, recently began using internet company Yume No Machi Souzou Iinkai's home-delivery website at a location in Kanagawa Prefecture. The restaurant operator says it has difficulty securing delivery personnel, and is considering turning to virtual mall operator Rakuten's delivery service as well.
Beef bowl purveyor Yoshinoya Holdings also started using Yume no Mach's service for deliveries at some of its locations this month. Meanwhile, Sushiro Global Holdings, operator of sushi chain Sushiro, has teamed up with Uber and Rakuten to begin delivery service.
Demand for food delivery is growing in Japan among groups such as senior citizens, parents with children, and office workers who need to finish lunch quickly. Such services are "convenient when I don't want to go out to eat," said an office worker in her 20s.
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