Online retail giant Amazon has started offering free one-hour restaurant deliveries to its Prime customers in London as it eyes a slice of the UK's £9-billion meals takeaway market.
Over 180 restaurants have subscribed to the retailer's new service, including pizza chain Strada, the Michelin-starred Indian eatery Benares, and salad chain Tossed. Amazon now offers delivery services to 21 London postcodes within an hour.
The service would initially be launched in areas of London, which would include Islington and the West End, with plans to expand in the rest of the city.
Amazon already runs restaurant deliveries in 12 US cities, including New York, Los Angeles and its hometown Seattle, where it said delivery times have cut down to 45 minutes on average.
The move takes on takeaway apps including Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats, which already employs drivers and cyclists to courier restaurant food to Londoners, and in the process opened up hundreds of smaller restaurants to the home-delivery market.
Customers ordered their meal using Amazon's Prime Now app, which showed them which restaurants offered food delivery in their area, and tracked the food while it was in transit.
Amazon said in a statement that its 'Amazon Restaurants' service would be available to subscribers of its Prime scheme and that delivery would be free for orders over £15.
Mopeds and bicycles sporting the Deliveroo logo had become a common sight on London's streets as hungry eaters used the service to obtain restaurant and takeaway meals without having to leave their homes.
Amazon has bagged restaurants and chains, including Strada, Gastronomica and Planet Hollywood, to the Michelin-starred Benares.
In all Amazon confirmed there would be 148 restaurants delivering their food via its platform.
Al Wilkinson, UK head of Amazon Restaurants at Amazon said, "London offers some of the best cuisine from around the world, so we're delighted that Amazon Prime customers can now enjoy food from their favourite restaurants via Amazon's ultra-fast Prime Now service.''
"Based on our own research into what is important to consumers in food delivery, our team have hand-picked a selection of the best quality local restaurants in London.
"We're excited to be helping many of these small businesses start offering home delivery for the very first time."