AI Chatbots Are Coming to a Food Delivery App Near You


The race to integrate AI chatbots into third-party food delivery apps is on, but major players like DoorDash and Uber Eats are holding their cards close to their chest, for now.

Neither company has publicly shared the full capabilities of their new AI chatbot feature, but software developers have uncovered some details via code hidden within the Uber Eats and DoorDash apps.

Your Personal AI Assistant

Uber’s AI bot will offer food-delivery recommendations and help customers place orders more quickly, reported Bloomberg. According to wording discovered within the code, when a user launches the chatbot, they will see a message that says the “AI assistant was designed to help you find relevant dishes and more.”

When it launches, the Uber Eats chatbot will prompt customers to enter their budget and food preferences to help them place an order. But while Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has confirmed that the AI chatbot does, indeed, exist, it is unclear when the software will go public.

Meanwhile, Uber’s biggest competitor, DoorDash – the leading online food delivery company in the U.S. with 65% of the market share – has its own AI chatbot in development.

The software, called DashAI, was first discovered in the DoorDash app and is currently testing in a limited capacity in some markets, according to Bloomberg. Presently, the system includes a warning message that the technology is experimental and accuracy may vary.

Like Uber’s chatbot, DashAI is designed to provide customers with personalized restaurant recommendations based on simple text prompts. To demonstrate how one might interact with the AI chatbot, the code includes examples of questions that users could ask:

“What’s a place that delivers burgers that also has really good salad options?”

“Can you show me some highly rated and affordable dinner options nearby?”

“Where can I get authentic Asian food? I like Chinese and Thai.”

Less Scrolling, More Ordering

With roughly 390,000 restaurants and grocery stores available to order delivery from via DoorDash, and some 900,000 partnered with Uber Eats, a massive appeal of AI chatbots would be the end of scrolling through this seemingly endless array of options. Instead, customers can ask for exactly what they want and AI will answer, almost immediately.

Think of these AI chatbots as an automated in-app concierge, available at all hours to make personalized recommendations.

Instacart, too, has its own chatbot powered by generative AI called Ask Instacart. The grocery delivery company began rolling out the AI-driven search tool in May of this year.

“Ask Instacart leverages the language understanding capabilities of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and our own AI models and unique catalog data that spans more than a billion shoppable items across more than 80,000 retail partner locations,” wrote JJ Zhuang, Chief Architect at Instacart in a statement.

Unlike the Uber Eats and DoorDash chatbots, Ask Instacart is less about deciding where to shop and more about deciding what to shop for. The search tool is intended to help discover new recipes and ingredients by fielding questions like, “What can I use in a stir fry?’”

The next time you ask “what’s for dinner?,” you may find yourself asking AI.

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