LivingSocial’s ‘Tipping’ Point Challenges Seamless

livingsocialtakeoutanddeliveryOne of the caveats to buying a daily deal in recent years has been the requirement of having to use the voucher to dine in at the restaurant, adding the specter of a tip to the cost. There’s little doubt that some meals bargain hunters have done the math and decided to instead order takeout/delivery off regular menus, bypassing the deals and possibly turning to Seamless.com to procure their purchase. But LivingSocial is now offering deals for takeout and delivery, aiming at Seamless.com’s core business.

The ordering platform, dubbed “Takeout & Delivery,” debuts today in 23 major markets, including Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Seattle, San Diego, and LivingSocial’s hometown, Washington, D.C. First-time users are being offered a $10-for-$1 voucher to kick-start the program.

While that promotion is only available on LivingSocial.com, the Seamless-like ordering system will also be available on the daily deals company’s mobile app. Users will find a Takeout & Delivery tab on the app, replacing LivingSocial’s “Instant Deals” mobile offering. New York-based Seamless, a digital delivery service for restaurants, says it has more than 1 million registered users in the U.S. and London, as well as 300,000 downloads of its iPhone/Android app.

LivingSocial is aggressively incubating new business units to complement its core web-based daily deals product. The firm launched a pop-up restaurant and events space in Washington, D.C. called 918 F Street in February, and recently told ClickZ News it has been well-received.

Additionally, the Takeout & Delivery program points to a larger trend where daily deals brands like Groupon and LivingSocial and geo-social apps such as Foursquare and Scvngr continue to encroach on each other’s turf. At South by Southwest last month, Scvngr CEO Seth Priebatsch told ClickZ News that he expected his one-year-old deals/loyalty app, LevelUp, to become his top business unit.