Chinese takeout

Amazon is testing a new local takeout service

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As Amazon continues to throw new services up against the wall to see what sticks, the online mega-retailer is reportedly trying to edge in on the lucrative food delivery business by taking on the likes of Seamless and GrubHub.

It was reported earlier this month that Amazon plans to launch a new marketplace service allowing customers to connect with local merchants and businesses. Now it seems that one part of that new product, a food takeout service, is ready to go live.

According to TechCrunch, this service was quietly activated on the Amazon Local app Tuesday night before quickly being taken down. This has led many to believe the service will go live again soon.

Amazon itself has not commented on the rumors that this portion of Amazon Local is about to go live. However, what is known is that Amazon plans a slow, quiet rollout for this new service before taking it global – much like it has with past product innovations.

In this regard, Amazon Fresh might be a good model for what to expect. Amazon's grocery delivery service started with an invitation only beta-test in Seattle before expanding into urban areas in California just last year. That being said, Amazon is reportedly very ambitious with the food delivery service, looking to acquire smaller, existing delivery companies in applicable markets.

With this aspect of Amazon Local, the company is hoping to cash in on a lucrative industry that has cropped up thanks to smartphone technology. Last year, it was reported that GrubHub made more than $137 million off of roughly $1 billion worth of takeout orders. That implies the company is able to charge an average commission of about 13.5 percent.

As with another recent addition to the Amazon Fresh program, a voice recorder/barcode scanner for making grocery lists at home, Amazon is trying to become more enmeshed in its customers’ daily lives. According to Reuters, the broader Amazon Local marketplace wants to displace Angie’s List and Yelp as the go-to directory for local services.

In recent months, Amazon has been abuzz with new developments. There was of course the splashy announcement of automated delivery drones (which may have been derailed by a recent FAA decision). They've also added Sunday delivery in some markets and increased same-day delivery capabilities to cut into one of the key advantages brick and mortar stores still had.

H/T TechCrunch | Photo by Lauren Bittner/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)