Juniper & Ivy To Fly Off-Menu Burgers By Drone To Test Uber's Pilot Food Delivery Program

June 13, 2019

Uber will begin delivering food via unmanned drone in the not-so-distant future, and to preview the pilot program, San Diego's Juniper & Ivy, as well as an area McDonald's location, will test out the new service.

In 2018, in part because of the city's military presence, the Federal Aviation Administration chose San Diego as one of 10 United States cities to test Uber's food delivery by drone program, currently named Uber Elevate. The rideshare company, which recently went public, will use AR200 drones with a custom-designed payload box to expedite food delivery. 

Currently, two San Diego businesses are signed on to sample the new delivery service - fast food giant, McDonald's, and Little Italy fine-dining restaurant, Juniper & Ivy. For the test program, Juniper and Ivy will only offer their "secret" burger, which will be available via Uber Eats delivery from 4-7pm once the service starts in late summer or early fall. Juniper and Ivy's $21 "In-N-Haute" burger is made with a house blend of ground short rib, brisket and beef chuck that is infused with dry-aged beef fat. Two patties and onions are grilled with mustard then topped with homemade bread-and-butter pickles and an elevated "animal-style" sauce, all served on a fresh-baked brioche bun. Normally, there are no more than a dozen orders available on any given evening.

During the test program, deliveries will not fly directly to customers, rather there will be designated landing areas where Uber Eats drivers will pick up the order then deliver it by car. Certain Uber vehicles may also be equipped with QR codes on their roofs that could allow them to serve as possible landing zones. Delivery fees are anticipated to be in range with Uber Eats, which could be from $3.99-8.50. 

Opened in San Diego's Little Italy in March 2014, Juniper & Ivy is an upscale, modernist American restaurant from acclaimed Celebrity Chef Richard Blais and Mike Rosen, a La Jolla-based investment manager of 27 years who also happens to have trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London. The restaurant was recently one of eight area eateries awarded the Michelin Guide's value-oriented Bib Gourmand in the inaugural California statewide book. Juniper and Ivy was chosen by Uber Executives after a reporter for Bloomberg said their burger was one of the best they'd ever eaten.

Uber anticipates that the Uber Elevate program will not be in full effect for at least three years.