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Facebook’s latest foray leaves food delivery rivals worried

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Facebook has launched its very own food ordering and delivery service, combining the convenience of social media with the popularity of food delivery

On Friday 13 October Facebook, king of the social media world, announced the launch of its latest feature, which allows users to order food for either pick-up or delivery. This comes a month after another internet giant, Amazon, announced its partnership with Olo, a restaurant ordering software.

In a press release, Facebook’s newsroom associated the release of the ‘Order Food’ feature with a new age of simplified food delivery.

“People already go to Facebook to figure out what to eat by reading about nearby restaurants and seeing what their friends say about them,” says Alex Himel, vice president of Local Facebook.

“Facebook combines options from a number of food ordering services like EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo,” Himel continues. The report also discloses that Facebook has teamed up with a number of nationwide restaurant brands such as Five Guys, Papa John’s, Chipotle and Panera.

The rise and rise of social media

This move towards food delivery is all part of a wider push to enhance user experience through the social media platform. In an earlier newsroom report, Facebook announced the intention to introduce “a variety of new features that help you use those connections to discover new things in the world around you.”

These new features include functions within the Facebook app and website such as requesting an appointment at local businesses such as hair salons and spas, getting a quote for services provided by companies relevant to your needs, and buying tickets to events.

As of right now, these features are only available in the U.S. markets, but Facebook has already promised this is only the beginning of further advancements, stating, “This is the first step, and over the coming months we’ll be launching even more new features that will make it easier to get things done, make confident decisions and communicate directly with businesses on your time and terms.”

Food: always in fashion

Facebook is not the only online threat to established food ordering and delivery services. On the announcement that Amazon had aligned itself with Olo, food order and delivery service GrubHub saw its shares drop by 7% in light of the revelation.

Equally, once Facebook announced its own food-related plans, GrubHub’s shares dropped a further 3%, with Facebook’s own shares rising by 1%.

However, Thomas Champion, analyst at financial services firm Cowen & Co., believes that ultimately, food order and delivery services do not have to be too nervous of Amazon and Facebook stepping on their toes.

“It remains an expansive $40bn-plus market in the US,” Champion explains, “with solid growth characteristics. We expect the delivery market to remain competitive and we think GrubHub will compete just fine.”

Emily Lewis