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Facebook seeks to tap into demand for online restaurant orders

Users will soon be able to buy meals on the social media site.

Facebook wants to be a bigger player in the restaurant game.

The social network has announced a new feature that will let users buy meals on its website through third-party delivery services like DoorDash or directly from a group of restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Five Guys.

Facebook has been working on the new product for a year, and carried out tests with restaurants including Papa John’s. It’s part of tech company efforts to boost their presence in the restaurant industry. Amazon.com recently announced a partnership with Olo, which provides order and pay technology to thousands of US locations. Olo will also be part of the new Facebook feature.

While Amazon might not make money on food orders, its delivery service is seen as a way to gather valuable customer data and keep in constant contact with consumers. All types of restaurants operate Facebook pages and the company has seen a rise in users searching out food on its site. 

Facebook said it has no plans to hire drivers and actually deliver food, but it hopes the new ordering feature will keep users on its site longer, instead of logging off to place orders elsewhere.

“We’re just trying to make it easier for people,” said Alex Himel, a Facebook vice president. He referred to the process of finding a restaurant on the site, then logging onto a third-party site or actually calling the restaurant a “pain point.”

© 2017 Bloomberg

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