Facebook today formally announced its new feature that allows users to order food from local restaurants using its app. Instead of competing directly with other food ordering services, Facebook is partnering with several industry players on this effort, including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow, Olo, Zuppler and Slice. It's also working with restaurant chains directly, like Jack in the Box, Five Guys, Papa John’s, Wingstop, TGI Friday's, Denny's, El Pollo Loco, Chipotle, Jimmy John's and Panera.
Users can find the new option "Order Food" in the Explore menu in the Facebook app, where you can then browse area restaurants and click "Start Order" when you know what you want.
Orders can be placed for either take-out or delivery, and if you already have a Delivery.com account, you can use your existing login. If not, you'll be able to sign up for a Delivery.com account directly in the Facebook app, the company says.
In addition, you'll be able to read reviews from friends about the restaurant in question, to help you make your decision.
Facebook has been developing a deeper relationship with food ordering businesses for some time. Last fall, it announced a deal with online ordering services Delivery.com and Slice, which allowed Facebook users to place orders from supported restaurants through their own Facebook Pages.
Earlier this year, TechCrunch reported this "Order Food" feature was in testing as a new option from within the Explore menu in the app. Facebook, at the time, confirmed it was an expansion of its previous "Order Food" functionality via the Facebook Pages. The idea was to see if adding an entry point through Facebook's main navigation could increase the usage for the food ordering feature.
The company, however, did not comment on how long the option had been live, or what percentage of Facebook users had it available.
Today, Facebook confirms that the Order Food option has been in testing since last year, and, after adding more partners and responding to user feedback, it's rolling out across the U.S. to all users on iOS, Android and desktop.
The move to introduce food ordering is one that allows Facebook to keep users inside its app for longer periods, instead of seeing users exit to other apps for common tasks, like ordering a pizza.
The company has been rolling out several other features with that same goal, including things like weather info, instant games, a jobs board, fundraisers, movie listings, booking appointments and getting quotes and more.
However, "Order Food" is not a direct revenue driver for Facebook. The company confirmed that it doesn't charge any fees, or share in any portion of the profits from the orders placed via its social network.