Careem has expanded its food delivery offering to Riyadh, four months after the ride-hailing company announced the new service in the UAE, with Karachi in Pakistan next on its radar.
The Careem Now app connects users with nearby restaurants and allows real-time tracking of food deliveries.
Careem says it will launch next in the Pakistani city of Karachi and Jordan's capital, Amman in the coming months.
“Only 15 per cent of the food delivery market in our region currently operates via app,” said Adeeb Warsi, managing director of Careem Now. “The idea of having to call up a restaurant and read out a list of items and hope it’s all written down correctly, are increasingly over. Ordering by app is how the industry is moving.”
It’s unclear how Careem Now and Uber Eats will both operate in Saudi Arabia. The US transportation giant agreed to acquire Careem for $3.1 billion (Dh11.39bn) in March in the biggest such deal in the Middle East.
It currently operates the service in 19 countries around the world.
In its IPO filing, Uber said the growth of the service – at 77 per cent year-on-year since 2013 – is far outstripping the consumer food service market, which grew 5 per cent over the same period.
“We expect that the home delivery market will continue to grow as a result of the convenience that it provides consumers,” Uber said.
“We also believe that home delivery can address a portion of the $2 trillion eat-in restaurant spend, as more consumers choose to have prepared meals from restaurants delivered,” it added.
Careem is following suit.
“The younger generations are driving digital ordering – which in the US is growing three times faster than dine-in traffic – and it’s a trend we believe is coming here,” Warsi said.