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Facebook Joins the Food Delivery Fray

It’s now live nationwide

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San Francisco is often the proving ground for apps, given its willing pool of early adopters, and glut of tech companies. Delivery apps like UberEats, DoorDash, Caviar, Postmates, and more all launched in the Bay Area. Now the biggest social media influencer of them all could provide a massive signal boost for both restaurants and the apps themselves, as Facebook has now entered the world of app-based food delivery, effective today.

Facebook users can now use its app to directly order food for delivery or pick-up from a restaurant’s Facebook page. Facebook itself won’t do the delivering, as the social media behemoth has simply tapped into a massive database of restaurants, most of which already have Facebook pages, to seamlessly integrate ordering dinner into the Facebook experience.

The idea is to create a world where Facebook users never have to leave the app (or browser window). “We’re just trying to make it more convenient for people to order food in one place,” Alex Himel, Facebook VP and lead on the project, told Eater National. Many of the restaurants are already engaged with a delivery program like DoorDash or Seamless, though some are powered by their own apps, like Chipotle, and Papa John’s. For those searching for a particular restaurant it is certainly more convenient to have all restaurants aggregated in one place regardless of delivery platform, though it does feel slightly overbearing to do every bit of business through one site.

Facebook

To use it, users can now pick a restaurant that then displays delivery providers, either from a restaurant’s Facebook page, or from the “Order Now” link down the side of the page. Menus are available just as they are displayed via whichever app is used by the restaurant.

Restaurants who have Facebook pages are allowed the option to opt out of the service, banishing the “Delivery” button from their page. However, they’re still catalogued in Facebook’s database, whether they opt in or not.

As for privacy issues, Facebook says it’s only saving “the minimum amount of data” per order. That means that it can remember which restaurants users order from, and suggest them, or others like them, again. And it’s only the go-between for the order, really: Himel says credit card information and order specifics are saved by delivery providers, not Facebook. And, according to Eater National, Facebook says it’s testing the service on some restaurant Instagram pages as well.

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