If you’ve attended South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, you know that grabbing food between panels and events can be rather difficult. For popular panels, the lines are long and you need to be there early, leaving little time to find a meal. Plus, food options near the main festival can be somewhat lackluster.
That’s something Uber Eats is looking to help solve this year. As part of the company’s activation during the festival, it will provide surprise food deliveries to registration lines and busy parties.
“We’ve really focused on identifying some food pain points that Uber Eats is uniquely positioned to solve,” said Uber Eats’ global head of marketing Nikki Neuburger. “We want to make some of those pain points a little better and help elevate those things that are already a pretty magical part of the SXSW experience.”
The company will not only be popping up at panels and parties with what it’s calling Uber Eats Drops; it will also have a walk-up window at 600 E. Sixth St., where attendees can pick up food from Austin restaurants like The Peached Tortilla, East Side King, Tamale House and Juice Austin. “The window is like a modern twist on a drive-thru,” Neuburger said.
From March 14-16, Uber Eats will have a pop-up house at 612 W. Fourth St. with “interactive culinary, music and entertainment” experiences, according to a statement. The experiences will pair artists with restaurants, including Khalid with McDonald’s, Virgil Abloh with Milk Bar and Billie Eilish with by CHLOE.
The activation comes on the heels of Uber’s work to change the way consumers view the brand. While Uber and Uber Eats are two different brands, Neuburger said, “we see ourselves as one platform.”
“I think we hope to be serving the same consumer base,” she said. “We’re very much connected in terms of our aspiration and just transforming how people can take advantage of this type of service to help again make their life a little bit better.”
Neuburger added: “We see ourselves as trying to redefine what delivery can mean and that is really positioning it as a life-hacking tool. So taking some responsibility off of your plate, saving you a little bit of energy by bringing the food that you want to you … I think we’re very much aligned with the Uber master brand overall and really focusing the efforts this year on winning the hearts and minds of consumers.”