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Who gets the groceries for a vacation house? Uber will.

Uber Eats released a streamlined way to grocery shop for group trips — and actually get people to pay

(Washington Post illustration; iStock)

Get a few people together for a weekend at a rental cabin or beach house, and participants inevitably fall into high school group-project dynamics.

You have the ideas guy, the team player and the deadweight who shirks any responsibility. And, of course, you have the captain tasked with wrangling the crew and making Venmo requests to save the sinking ship. It’s a thankless job that goes to the most organized person of the group.

On Wednesday, Uber launched group grocery orders on Uber Eats to fix that problem. Customers who like to cook on vacation or just want to stock the fridge with snacks can invite travel companions (up to 15 people allowed) to add items to a shared grocery cart.

“Everybody gets to take control of what they want, but everybody’s adding to the same cart and checking out at the same time,” said Therese Lim, Uber’s head of grocery product.

Users can create an order through Uber Eats by selecting a grocery store, then “group order” and customizing settings, such as when to schedule the order and order frequency.

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You can also set an order deadline for your group, and at most grocery stores, split the bill, so your travel companions can pay their shares individually. You can also set spending limits for participants and plug in membership details for stores to get points and discounts.

Shoppers can type in special requests for their courier and set backup items in case something’s not available. You’ll still have to make a liquor store run, because the service is limited to grocery orders. (No alcohol.) As the shopping deadline approaches, cart companions are sent reminders — meaning no need to send passive-aggressive reminders to your friends to order or pay.

“You can spend more time actually connecting with your friends or family rather than, you know, arguing with each other about which kind of milk to get,” Lim said.

As of Wednesday, group ordering is available in the United States and Canada, and will roll out globally, including in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, in the coming weeks.

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The tool was debuted at Uber’s annual Go-Get global product event, along with other new releases such as teen accounts; an Uber Car Seat partnership launching in New York and Los Angeles; and a new concierge service for Uber Central, a corporate travel resource within Uber for Business. It also announced a rental service for boats (for up to eight passengers) in Mykonos, Greece, this summer.

Earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with the travel booking app Hopper to allow flight booking within the Uber app for United Kingdom users beginning this summer.

Uber will let teenagers ride alone, with parental tracking

The company also launched traveler-focused products at its 2022 event, such as Uber Travel. The feature links your Uber and Gmail accounts to suggest ride reservations to go with your flight, hotel or restaurant reservations, and earns 10 percent Uber Cash back for every ride booked through the service. And Uber Charter lets you rent party or coach buses and passenger vans. In 2021, we got Uber Rent for rental cars and Uber Reserve to order an airport pickup from 30 minutes to 30 days in advance for a fee.

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