Dining

Lunch on Demand

Amazon is launching a restaurant delivery service
Photo: Photography Banzai via Flickr
Amazon Prime Food Delivery

Not feeling like going out in the rain to grab ramen for lunch? Amazon may soon bring it to your desk.

Jeff Bezos's all-encompassing behemoth is expanding into the restaurant delivery realm—and rapidly. A pilot program was launched in September in Seattle, and as of this week Angelenos have been getting in on the delivery action with meals from Umami Burger, Hurry Curry of Tokyo and more local options.

TechCrunch reported Tuesday that Amazon plans to roll out the program in the next several months in 20 cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, the cities in Orange County, New York, Miami, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio and San Francisco.

But not everyone can take advantage. The delivery option is only for Prime members, and the whole initiative is more about encouraging people to sign up for Prime than beating Seamless, GrubHub, Caviar or any of the other restaurant delivery websites at their own game, the company said. "We are constantly looking at ways to add value to Prime, and restaurant delivery is another great service for Prime customers," Amazon PR rep Tom Cook said, according to Eater.

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Prime members, who spend $99 a year to get free two-day shipping and other perks, ultimately spend up to double of non-Prime members, so upping those numbers is key to Amazon's bottom line.

For now, the food delivery service is free, with Amazon making some money via revenue shares. But there may come a time when users pay a pretty price for the service.

So just how much is avoiding a rainy day worth?

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