Uber Eats halts services in Saudi Arabia, will transition to Careem in UAE

  • Uber Eats is closing down operations in eight markets, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt
  • Uber says its core rides business was unaffected in all of the markets

JEDDAH: Uber Eats announced the suspension of its services on Monday, considering it their last working day before removing its service completely from the Kingdom.

The food app first launched in Saudi Arabia’s capital in February 2018, followed by a service expansion into Jeddah almost a year later, before it phased into the Eastern Province throughout 2019.

“We have made the decision to discontinue Uber Eats in Saudi Arabia. This will also allow us to commit further energy and resources on our top Eats markets around the world. Looking ahead, we remain committed to growing and investing in Uber’s mobility platform in the Middle East,” an Uber Eats’ spokesperson told Arab News.

The decision came after several studies of the business metrics of delivery services in the competitive market: Uber then chose to concentrate on other areas where Uber Eats is growing.

Frequent users of the app heard the news through an email announcement. “After years of partnering with local restaurants to offer convenient, reliable food delivery, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue Uber Eats in Saudi Arabia at the end of Monday, 4 May,” the statement said.

The company said that it was sad to be leaving its Saudi customers, but would continue to serve them through Uber Rides.

“Our number one priority now is to minimize the impact on the valued employees, restaurant partners, delivery partners and consumers who have supported us,” the statement said.

The suspension came as a shock to app users, who considered it the fastest delivery app among its competitors in Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah Altayyari (@obdoli), a web and mobile designer from Riyadh, tweeted: “What a loss! Honestly speaking it was the best delivery app in my opinion.”

Another user Jawahir (@JawahirM) said that the app had some issues despite its swiftness: “It was a decent app but browsing through it was terrible and it had no variety when it came to restaurants, but their delivery was swift and their pricing was impeccable.”

Others were not as concerned. Ahmed Alqurashi, a barista in Makkah, said that his family used the app often due its fast delivery, “but there are many other apps that deliver food, so it’s not a big deal.”

Khaled, Twitter user (@kali_kali17), based the company’s decision on the current events. “Many US-based companies are limiting their operations, if not stopping them all together, outside the US due to the current crisis.”

“I don’t think Uber Eats would’ve been a hit had it stayed, due to its lack of understanding of the Saudi market and consumer,” he said.

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