"Let's get takeout tonight. What looks good on Amazon?" Today, that sounds nonsensical, but perhaps not for long. Amazon recently rolled out a new service called Amazon Takeout & Delivery that is currently being tested in Seattle.
The pilot program features 100 restaurants in the Seattle area, with everything from sushi to hamburgers. Each restaurant gets a dollar rating to let you know how expensive it is, as well as a small badge letting you know if the restaurant is open. Click on the restaurant's icon and you can see the joint's menu and decide what to order.
Once you've got your order ready, you can pay for your meal with one-click via your Amazon account.
Why this matters: One of Amazon's big pushes these days is to extends its reach through partnerships with local businesses. The new takeout and delivery service is an extension of Amazon Local, which began as a site to find deals from local businesses. Amazon also has local grocery delivery in select cities, and recently rolled out a Square competitor, a swipe device that attaches to your smartphone for accepting credit card purchases without a terminal. With Takeout, the company hopes the convenience of its patented one-click payment system will convince diners to go local with the massive multinational.
The takeout state
Amazon's only significant competition for takeout and delivery is GrubHub, which, like Amazon Takeout, lets you order online from local restaurants. In 2013, GrubHub merged with a similar competitor, Seamless, that still operates as a distinct brand from GrubHub. Grubhub also owns the menu browsing sites MenuPages and Allmenus.
GrubHub and Seamless make their money by taking a commission on orders received through its platform. Presumably, Amazon is doing something similar.
How quickly Amazon will expand its takeout service is unclear, but if the Seattle trial works out, it's likely we'll see the restaurant service appear in U.S. cities during 2015.