After a year of testing, Facebook is officially getting into the food ordering business.
Launched on Friday, the "Order Food" section can be found in the Explore menu for desktop and mobile users.
In a blog post, Alex Himel, the VP of local, called it the next logical step for Facebook.
The social network is essential to the consideration phase for choosing food outlets, with human users and reviews that offer a peek behind the product claims. Now an additional button will offer review readers the option to instantly order and get connected to takeout services such as EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, and ChowNow.
Users will also be connected to a slew of restaurants, such as Jack in the Box, Five Guys, Papa John’s and Panera, through the Explore tab.
“People already go to Facebook to figure out what to eat by reading about nearby restaurants, and seeing what their friends say about them,” wrote Himel.
After browsing food options users can select "Start Order" when they have decided. To fully avail the service, users will need to sign up with those food delivery services. In doing so, addresses need to be provided which will be stored by Facebook, furthering strengthing its location-based marketing service.
Along with their desktop computers, US Facebook users can now find the feature on their iOS and Android mobile devices.
Within the Explore menu, they will now find an “Order Food” section featuring lists of local restaurants. There, they can browse food options and then select “Start Order” when they’re ready.
People will still need to sign up with those delivery services that have existing relationships with their restaurants of choice.
To capitalize on the share of eyeballs on its product reviews, HoReCa businesses would do best to sign up as partners for the new service and add another channel for qualified lead generation.
According to data from McKinsey & Co, the worldwide market for food delivery stands at US$97.8 million, or 1 percent of the total food market and 4 percent of food sold through restaurants and fast-food chains. 28 percent of this belongs to India and China combined, according to estimates from Euromonitor.