Uber Eats has followed in the footsteps of other businesses and is giving relief to restaurants as the coronavirus pandemic keeps consumers away from restaurants. Uber Eats announced today it will begin offering daily payouts to restaurants of all sizes.
"We've heard from restaurants that they're worried about what the health crisis will do to sales, and its impact on cash flow and their ability to pay suppliers or employees," said Therese Lim, head of restaurant product at Uber Eats, in a news release. "That's why, from today, we'll provide restaurants with the option to receive daily payouts rather than waiting until the end of the week to see revenue from deliveries, which can be even more important as delivery becomes a bigger share of their sales during this time."
Uber Eats will also be waiving delivery fees for orders from independent restaurants and increasing marketing efforts. For this purpose, Uber Eats is classifying independent restaurant as all non-franchise restaurants that are independent of a national chain.
"We know the coming weeks will be challenging ones for many small business owners, and we want to help restaurants focus on food, not finances." said Janelle Sallenave, head of Uber Eats for the U.S. and Canada. "That's why we're working to drive increased demand to more than 100,000 independent restaurants across the U.S. and Canada through free delivery and marketing efforts."
Uber Eats did not go as far as competitor Grubhub, which has waived the commission it receives from independent restaurants.
"Over 90 percent of all restaurants are small- and family-owned with 50 or fewer employees, each restaurant, along with the industry's 15.6 million employees, are facing uncertainty and disruption because of coronavirus," said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association, in the release. "Efforts that promote drive-thru, takeout and delivery are important tools to help restaurants continue to serve consumers during challenging times."
Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitliaty Allicnce was not impressed with Uber Eats' relief efforts. "The actions some these delivery companies are taking exposes exactly what we’ve said for so long—they don’t care about restaurants—and now they are exploiting a crisis," he said.
For restaurants all over the country dine-in traffic has dropped dramatically, and many state and local governments across the country have begun mandating that restaurants close and move to delivery, takeout and curbside pickup.
In the same release, Uber Eats also announced it had committed 300,000 free meals on Uber Eats to first responders and healthcare workers in U.S. and Canada, in coordination with local and state and provincial governments. Like other third-party marketplaces, Uber Eats is also offering "contactless" delivery. Orders are sealed in tamper-evident packaging, and the company "is working to provide delivery people with sanitization materials in the most impacted markets."
The company had previously pledged financial assistance to drivers and delivery people who are either diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been asked to self-isolate by public health authorities.
Contact Gloria Dawson at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @GloriaDawson
For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.
Update: This piece has been updated with coment from Andrew Rigie.