Uber Eats pilots online ordering service for restaurants

The program will be commission free through the end of 2020
Uber Eats driver Cory Herndon, 34, uses his cell phone after picking up an order in St. Petersburg in October.
Uber Eats driver Cory Herndon, 34, uses his cell phone after picking up an order in St. Petersburg in October. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published July 31, 2020|Updated July 31, 2020

COVID-19 outbreaks. A nearly six-week shutdown. Layoffs and difficulty landing government assistance.

These are just a few of the challenges facing Tampa Bay restaurants, as eateries around the country struggle to stay afloat during the pandemic. One delivery app is looking to give food businesses a boost and build its partnerships as restaurants increasingly shift away from in-person dining.

Uber Eats recently announced that it is piloting a program in the United States allowing restaurants to add online ordering to their websites. Restaurants will cover payment processing costs, but will not incur any additional commission on delivery or pickup orders processed through this service through the end of 2020.

Certain orders made through the Uber Eats app, however, will still incur a commission fee for restaurants. While rates are negotiable, eateries can expect to pay about a 30 percent commission on orders made through the app and delivered by Uber Eats drivers. If food businesses use their own staff, they typically pay a 15 percent commission.

In March, Uber Eats announced it would waive restaurants’ commission fees for pickup orders made through the app. It will continue to do so for the rest of the year.

Uber spokesperson Javier Correoso said the company hoped to help restaurants as they navigate the pandemic.

“It’s very stormy waters for the restaurant industry right now,” he said.

In Florida, in particular, he said the state’s rising cases have contributed to uncertainty for the restaurant industry. In the Tampa Bay area, businesses have navigated both health and economic concerns as they decide how — and sometimes whether — to remain open.

Offering a commission-free online ordering service comes with several benefits for Uber Eats said Huijian Dong, an associate finance professor at the University of South Florida. The new service will help establish restaurants’ relationships with the company and make them less likely to switch to other services, due to the costs incurred by a change.

“Uber might be sacrificing some short term profits but it is grabbing a large market share,” Dong said.