The first quarter of this year marked an incredibly important milestone for Uber Eats, as we celebrate reaching 1 million merchants on our platform around the world. From small restaurants and grocers, to convenience stores and international chains, businesses partner with Uber Eats to help grow their businesses and reach consumers quickly and reliably—a responsibility we take seriously.

We’ve come so far from where we started. Despite being built in just six weeks starting back in 2014, the original Uber Eats app was no small feat. The team scrappily leveraged parts of the Uber rides tech stack, while creating e-commerce capabilities like home screen, search for items and places, stores, carts, checkout, and live order tracking from scratch. They also customized the driver app to add more detailed delivery information like instructions, parking, and navigation to multiple locations.

We first piloted a delivery service called UberFresh in Los Angeles from just a handful of restaurants. The service was only available for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and dinner between 5:30 and 8 p.m. At that time, your only luck of getting delivery from us was if you were in Santa Monica or the surrounding area—a tiny portion of the more than 11,000 cities where you’ll find Uber Eats across six continents today!

Eventually we began scaling food delivery outside of Los Angeles to major cities like New York City, Chicago, and Barcelona, rapidly working to partner with more and more restaurants and we officially launched Uber Eats as a standalone app in Toronto, Canada in 2015.

Here’s a little more about what we’ve learned about building best-in class products on our journey to 1 million merchants.

  • Listening to merchants is paramount for success. In the fast-paced world of restaurants and retailers we know that no two storefronts are the same. They have different technology and support needs, making flexibility and a suite of tools important to help streamline operations and delight customers. 
  • Diversifying merchants partners brings new challenges and opportunities.  As our partnerships have  grown from local restaurants to multi-location chains, grocery, convenience, liquor stores and more, we’ve needed to invest in building a platform that could support a variety of merchants and item catalogs. A breakfast menu and a grocery SKU-set are very different! Along the way we’ve built a sophisticated inventory management system capable of handling hundreds of thousands of items for merchants to quickly identify and build their listings. For consumers, this means seeing real-time item availability, whatever the storefront.
  • Merchants are incredibly creative—our tech needs to support their best ideas. 

From the tens of thousands of restaurants experimenting with new menus and virtual concepts, to developing unique promotional concepts for delivery that mirror their brick and mortar strategies like happy hours and buy-one-get one efforts, we’ve worked hard to make sure our tech supports merchants’ growth. 

The road from a handful of California restaurants to the global scope and incredible variety of partners we work with today has been quite the journey —and we’re incredibly excited for the future. There’s so much more we can do to support the business goals of merchants who want to grow through delivery and our teams are hard at work to do just that. Cheers to the one million (and counting!) merchants who make Uber Eats a great place for consumers and to many more years and milestones to come.