Facebook is now making it easier for you to order food from your favorite restaurants directly within its app, without having to navigate away to a delivery service or restaurants own app or website. In the main Facebook navigation on both web and mobile, a new option called Order Food is rolling out to select users.
Indicated by a colorful hamburger iconon desktop and a blue-and-white hamburger icon on mobile, the option lets Facebook users place food pickup and delivery orders from restaurants using Delivery.com or Slice.
Above: Order Food on mobile
Above: Order Food ondesktop
The entire process, from ordering tocheckout, takes place on Facebook when you use this menu option.
The feature is an expansion on a previously announced deal with online ordering businesses, Delivery.com and Slice, which Facebook detailed back in October. At that time, the company said that it would allow Facebook users to place orders with supported restaurants from their own Facebook Pages through a Start Order button.
The Order Food feature in the main navigation works similarly, but makes it more convenient as it aggregates all the supported restaurants together on one page. Here, youll find a list of restaurants, which includea featured photo, price range (indicated by dollar signs), star ratings, and type of cuisine. It will also display whether delivery, pickup or both are available.
You can then click Start Order to begin the ordering process much like you could before, if ordering directly from the restaurants Facebook Page.
According to one user who successfully usedthe service last night on mobile to order a calzone, whenyou tap through to being your order, youre able to browse the menu, add items to yourcart, edit your order, add a suggested tip, then pay within Facebook, in a mobile experience powered by either Delivery.com or Slice.
After payment, a confirmation screen appears letting you now that youll also receive an email to confirm your order and a time frame when the order is expected to arrive or be ready for pickup.
Perhaps because the feature is still rolling out, its availability has been a little flaky to start. For example, the optionitself has disappeared and reappeared for some; other times, it says there arent places that can deliver to you right now; and, in my own tests, the button Order Food showed up on my iPhone, but then didnt load a page properly whentapping through.
For Facebook users, the feature is one of convenience they dont have to leave Facebook to place orders, or visit individual Facebook Pages to see if online ordering is available. But for Facebook, its another example of how the network is aiming to duplicate the functionality of other apps installed on users devices,and rolling out other features that keep users inside its walls.
Over the past several months, Facebook has introduced a number of these sorts of features, including weather, a networking sectioncalled discover people, a travel section called city guides, government info viatown hall, an online jobs board, fundraisers, instant games, and more.
Reached for comment, Facebook confirmed that the Order Food functionality is related to the October news of Slice and Delivery.com food ordering functionality via restaurants Facebook Pages, but didnt offer any details as to when the new button in Facebooks navigation began appearing for U.S. users.
We understand from sourcesfamiliar with product, however, that the functionality is the same as what was unveiled in October, but Facebook is now testing a new entry point for ordering food through its mainnavigation. Because this is a test, not all Facebook users may see the option at this time.
(Image credits: @fbjag; @mattlynley)