Alibaba’s O2O lifestyle app is testing online menu for restaurants

Alibaba’s lifestyle app Koubei is testing an online restaurant menu function (in Chinese) at a chain tea shop and a fast food store in Wuxi City.

The new feature offers two different kinds of services. Customers dining in at the restaurant can place orders on Koubei app when they are waiting in the line or before they arrive at the restaurant. Those who want to take out can place orders online first and claim their food on-site with a pre-order number.

The company says that the service will be available in more cities next month. In addition to tea shops, restaurants will be the main target clients of this function, the firm added.

Koubei has already laid out in the area last year through investment in restaurant booking app Meiwei Buyongdeng (美味不用等). Founded in 2013, the startup provides solutions to restaurants to better manage their booking and customer flow. On May 11, it has just received RMB 400 million ($63.1 million) in series D1 funding from e-commerce firm Alibaba and travel agency Ctrip at a valuation of $4 billion.

The city of Wuxi is turning out to be the frontier of China’s online food ordering and delivering battle thanks to its moderate market size and relatively low consumption level. In the land grab war between Didi and Meituan, both companies were giving munificent subsidies to take over Wuxi market earlier this year. Wuxi municipality called off the money-burning competition before it escalates to a large-scale battle.