UberEATS Launches in Atlanta

Dear Uber,

I like your company – it’s convenient, it’s fast, and it’s fairly inexpensive. It’s a good deal for you, your consumers, and your drivers.  Everyone wins.ubereats_banner

You have been doing a lot of expansion here lately. I was able to experience UberPOOL when I was in Los Angeles this summer, and just last week, you launched UberEATS in the place I call home: Atlanta. I’ve been thinking about testing out this new Uber service, but I first turned to the place where I can quickly find honest customer feedback – Twitter.

With operations in hundreds of cities throughout the world and every continent except Antarctica,  it seems only logical that you would decide to expand outside of the taxi-based service that made the company so popular. Originally launched as UberFRESH in Santa Monica in April 2014, this new service provides lunch during a three hour timespan with a prix fixe menu that offers a different selection each day. Apparently the venture went so well in Santa Monica that you decided to expand it to other cities, including Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and even Toronto and Barcelona.

The most recent addition to this list has been Atlanta, where UberEATS (the name switched in April 2015) was launched on Thursday, September 10, 2015. Since that time, a fair number of users have taken to Twitter to express both joy and frustration. Since the launch, I have monitored and analyzed a sample collection of tweets about #UberEATS and your expansion to Atlanta. The Twitter activity on the hashtag was monitored starting on Wednesday, September 9th when the launch announcement was made through the following week. This examination has resulted in a balanced picture of the overall reaction in Atlanta to UberEATS.

On September 9, 2015, Twitter exploded with the information about the launch with over sixty tweets about the event. Activity on the feed #uberEATS combined with keyword “Atlanta” remained high on Thursday, September 10 with twenty tweets, but then fell off throughout the week, as evidenced in Graph One. I believe that some of this can be attributed to the fact that the service does not run on Saturdays and Sundays, and the launch happened on Thursday, giving it only two active days prior to the weekend.

Graph One
Graph One

Overall, this number was much lower than I personally expected, as I assumed that Atlanta would be excited for the launch. However, the number of tweets or lack thereof was not my biggest concern here, but rather the fact that 82 of the 94 tweets within the week were promotional tweets, as evidenced by Graph Two.

Tone of #Uber Eats Atlanta
Graph Two

Perhaps the largest concern here is not the fact that they were promotional tweets – we want journalists, bloggers, and even loyal customers spreading the news about our launch – but rather that they seemed to be sent by Uber drivers.  Furthermore, it was clearly a stock tweet, as I discovered a list of seventeen tweets in a row with the exact same text.

Uber DriversThose customers who did have something to say – either positive or negative – seemed to take to Twitter without the hashtag. Searching “Uber EATS Atlanta” showed a different set of tweets – this time without the repeated promotional material. Of the seventeen sent this week, most were positive, while a few were simply curious about the service, as demonstrated by the Graph


Graph Three
Graph Three

The positive tweets, much like the one seen here, were the ones that I was most interested in looking at personally. I wanted to be sure that other people liked the service and the food prior to spending $12 on lunch for myself.

Based on this feedback, I would definitely consider it for those times that I am swamped at the office but still need some lunch. I also like that the account favorited the tweet, showing that you care about consumers and want to interact with them.

Even the one “negative” tweet received a response from @Uber_Support, which I think is very important for keeping the customer happy. Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 9.59.21 AMWhile you could not provide an immediate solution to the issue, I appreciate the fact that someone was willing to acknowledge the situation and be willing to follow up on the request. Listening to the consumer and responding appropriately will only make the company better as you look to expand into other cities and countries.

After examining the tweets related to the launch of UberEATS in Atlanta, I have two main recommendations for Uber that I suggest you implement prior to launching the service in other major cities.

1.) Promotional tweets should show creativity and be unique.  Nothing good comes from asking your employees to simply copy and paste the same tweet over and over. More could be accomplished by encouraging them to craft their own creative tweets and then providing a small prize – perhaps free UberEATS for a week – for the most unique or retweeted tweets.  This would cost very little for the company, but would give consumers more information with regard to what UberEATS will offer their city.  People want to retweet things that make them laugh or provide quality information, but will simply skim or even skip the same tweet that they have seen multiple times within the day. Use your drivers wisely and encourage them to be themselves in their tweets.

2.) Allow time for build-up prior to the launch.  The day that Uber announced that you were launching in Atlanta, the number of tweets was three times that of any other day.  Perhaps announcing the launch a week or even two weeks prior to the start date will allow people to get excited about it and anticipate the launch date.  This will also allow for more promotional time on behalf of the company, your drivers, the media, and the general public.  Ideally, the launch date should be the highest traffic day on social media – give people time to learn about the new service so that they can be excited enough to try it.  Only allowing one day between the announcement and the launch was not enough time to make it as successful as it could have and should have been.

This monitoring report was prepared for my COM 5100 course.  Additional research would need to be done if this were a full report. I am specifically interested in how the Atlanta launch has compared to that of other cities and how the amount of time between announcement and launch determined how popular the service was. I would also be interested in comparing tweets about UberEATS with those of other services such as GrubHub and Zifty.

Update: One of the “inquisitive” tweets mentioned above asked why the service was not available in Buckhead – as it was originally launched only in downtown and Midtown.  Uber listened to the consumers, and today (Monday, September 21) launched the service in Buckhead. Way to monitor your consumer feedback, Uber!

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.03.47 AM


I Have a Real Job Too

My official job title is “Engagement and Communications Coordinator,” which is a fancy way of saying that I spend a lot of my time on social media. At least eight hours of my week, one full day, is spent on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. When I tell people this, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind. My own mother once asked me how I could consider it a real job – thanks, Ma. Unfortunately, I have gotten that response from multiple people simply because they believe that social media is just a part of life, not an exciting career.

Social media is everywhere around us.   We see signs all around us that say “Like Us on Facebook” or “Follow Us on Twitter.” The table signs at the restaurant down the street is running a photo contest on Instagram, and we automatically look to LinkedIn when we think about networking with people in our field. It’s such a natural part of life now that most people tend to not even think about the people who are running the show behind the scenes.

This is also true in higher education, if not more so. Social media is everywhere on the university campus – in fact, a recent study discovered that one in three college students consider the Internet to be as important as basic human needs like air, water, food, and shelter. The benefits of using social media in higher education are obvious. It’s an easy way to interact with students, who you know are constantly on their phones and computers. It allows administrators to quickly share information, particularly if there is a crisis like a tornado or shooter on campus. It is used to promote events, show the culture of the school, and encourage potential students and ranking systems to take an extra look at the university. We’re even being graded on it now. It’s something that is present in every aspect of the university – we can no longer escape it – but social media does not come without its challenges.


When using social media, universities are talking to more than just their students. There are also talking to the alumni, the potential students, the faculty and staff, the parents of the students and potential students, and anyone who happens to stumble across the page. They are doing more than simply reporting on student activity – they are creating a brand that must be upheld. With that many people to impress, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, how do we know what to say? Are we supposed to be recruiting students, promoting the events around campus this week, or asking the alumni to take part in the giving campaign? Are we supposed to be showcasing how nice the dorm rooms are, explaining where Counseling and Health Services is located on campus, or encouraging alumni to attend Homecoming? With so many different audiences and so many different people following the page, how do we know what to post?



In an effort to combat the above-mentioned problem, there is a major trend among universities where each section and subsection of the university controls their own social media presence. This means that every department from Graduate Housing to the Men’s Golf Team to the Department of English has their own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page. Sometimes they even have multiple of those. At last count, the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech had fifty-three different social media accounts: one on each platform for the undergraduate programs, their Part-Time MBA Program, their Full-Time MBA Program, their Executive MBA Program, and the list goes on. A quick Facebook search pulls up more than 100 Georgia Tech affiliated pages – everything from the Library to the Chinese Club to the weekly Farmer’s Market. The official university pages are of course ran by someone who has a background in social media management – someone who understands what he or she is doing. But these extra pages are often ran by someone like me – someone who is interested in social media but doesn’t quite understand how to be super effective at it. But more importantly, when there is that much stuff going on, how does the university work to ensure that the message being sent is the correct one? And perhaps more importantly, with this many messages being sent, how can we even be sure that the people sending them are even affiliated with the university?


Every college is on some form of social media. No, seriously, 100% of colleges studied by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth(almost five hundred total) are on social media.  But what does this mean? Do they only have a Facebook Page, or perhaps a Twitter Handle? The reality is that they probably have both, as well as Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more. With so many options, how do social media managers keep up? And more importantly, how do you decide which platform will be the next big hit. With college-aged students being some of the first to become captivated by the next big thing, how do universities stay ahead of the social media game? For example, most universities have a Google+ account, which has essentially died, but relatively few connect with students on Vine, which was extremely popular with the millennial generation for a few years. That being said, “for a few years” is a problem in itself. With technology changing every single day, how do universities predict what will be popular tomorrow? Is it worth it to invest the time and effort to make and run a social media account if the platform is going to lose users within a few months?  Should we instead just invest our time in the tried and true platforms that we know are working?

Social media is a necessary part of our lives – both inside and outside of the university. It is a wonderful tool that allows us to connect with our students and alumni in a way that we never could before. That being said, running these social media accounts comes with its own challenges, just like every other “real” career.

What other challenges come from using social media in a university setting? How are these similar or different from running social media pages in a corporate environment, or a non-profit organization?