Uber Eats just added a huge feature amid the pandemic

In times of curbside service and contactless deliveries, gathering around the table for a meal among friends and family can seem like a long-distant pipe dream. But leave it to technology to attempt to make shared food and drink experiences a reality again — in a sense, anyway.

With presence in more than 50 cities spread over 13 countries, Uber Eats is trying to do its part to bridge the gap of socially distanced separation in these pandemic times with a new feature that allows for sharing deliveries. According to a press release issued today, the company is "making the process of sharing our love of food easier than ever — with a new global feature in the Uber Eats app that allows customers to easily send treats and share the status of a delivery with a simple tracking link." And thanks to the "real-time tracking system," the recipient can keep an eye on the delivery and be ready and waiting for the order when it's due to arrive.

How does the Uber Eats sharing feature work?

As Delish explains, with this new feature, users can place an order on the Uber Eats app, as they normally would, simply entering the address of the giftee and ordering from the restaurants that serve that area. The new feature will "send a tracker link to the recipient," which allows the other party to "follow along via text for updates on the delivery's progress" — in other words, no Uber Eats app required (via Thrillist).

You can choose any areas served by Uber Eats, even those in different countries. And, as Starbucks teamed up with Uber Eats in 2019 to offer delivery across the United States by early this year (via Business Insider), the pair is partnering on this new app feature, allowing users to send everything from Frappuccinos to food items nationwide.

The move certainly makes financial sense. Uber has experienced plummeting demand for the car-hiring side of its business due to COVID-19 concerns, leading the company to recently announce it was slashing about 14 percent of its staff, according to The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, though "delivery had already become a significant revenue generator for many restaurants" pre-pandemic, food delivery has been further increasing as more consumers stay home (via Axios).

And, in these uncertain times, who doesn't love a surprise food or drink delivery, sent by a friend — or an easy way to brighten someone's day from afar?