Don't scream for ice cream — just pick up your smartphone.
Uber, the San Francisco startup known for letting people order private drivers in sleek black cars or hybrids using an app, is offering an ice cream-on-demand service — for today only — in 35 cities around the world, including its hometown.
Today's stunt is an expansion of last year's ice cream promotion, when people in seven U.S. and Canadian cities could use the Uber app to summon an ice cream truck hired by Uber to their location, provided they purchased a minimum number of treats. But demand exceeded supply, and not everyone who wanted ice cream got it.
"In San Francisco last year, we had so much demand that in order for everyone to get ice cream, we would have had to have 1,000 trucks on the road," said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. "That's a city with 1,500 cabs."
On normal days, Uber lets people order a ride in a taxi, a regular car, a high-end sedan or an SUV using its smartphone app, after they register for the service with their credit card information. Rates depend on where you are. In The City, for example, a ride from San Francisco International Airport to The City ranges from $50 to $85.
Kalanick, who co-founded Uber in 2009, said that although there is no way to meet all the demand for ice cream, "there is going to be crisp communication" that there is a very limited supply.
In San Francisco, treats for 5 people will cost $30.