Uber brings Deliveroo-style UberEats service to UK
Controversial ride-sharing app branches out into food delivery
Uber is bringing its food delivery service UberEats to the UK, according to new reports.
The company is recruiting London-based bicycle and moped-mounted drivers for the expected rollout, including a 100 bonus for "delivery partners" signing up ahead of launch, Buzzfeed reports.
UberEats is already operating in 16 major cities, most of which are located in the US, and forms one of Uber's numerous alternative businesses alongside its primary ridesharing model.
"UberEats has been hugely popular in every city around the world we have launched it in," a spokesperson said, "so the fact we are exploring the UK market shouldn't come as a surprise. We're always looking at what other services we can bring to the market here."
The service will primarily be in competition with Deliveroo, an app that offers similar food delivery from various independent, gourmet and upscale chain restaurants.
Frequently cited as a 'digital disruptor', Uber has found itself in fierce conflict with the industries it has muscled in on thus far. The company has been locked in legal disputes with taxi drivers' unions around the world, earning itself bans in many countries.
It has also been criticised for the treatment of its drivers, who are classed as 'independent contractors' and thus do not get any of the benefits usually afforded to employees.
The company has also recently received large amounts of funding from investors including Goldman Sachs for its Xchange Leasing arm. This subsidiary provides leases on vehicles to potential drivers that otherwise could not obtain Uber-quality cars due to poor or non-existent credit ratings.
The leases - which have been described as "predatory" according to a Bloomberg report - deduct payment automatically from the driver's Uber earnings, and some critics say that the company is using them as a way to profit from drivers, rather than increase driver numbers.
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