Uber Eats is introducing Eat Local, an initiative to advance support for independent restaurant owners and operators amid continuing pandemic-related challenges.
“We’re here for restaurants at Uber Eats — as we have been since the start of the health crisis,” Stephane Ficaja, head of Uber Eats and Delivery for the U.S. and Canada, said in a Wednesday (Feb. 3) press release.
To that end, Ficaja said Uber Eats was setting aside $20 million “through various initiatives” to help its restaurant partners find success in the coming months.
Microgrants totaling $4.5 million will be available to help the platform’s active restaurants meet pandemic-related financial challenges. In addition, Uber Eats will reduce and waive fees for the eateries on its platform, with no added charge for order processing or pickup. Further, there is no fee to cash out daily through July to help owners have a steady flow of incoming receipts.
Uber Eats is also lowering delivery fees for consumers on all orders placed with independent restaurants. Dedicated marketing campaigns will also be launched to promote local restaurant delivery. Further, Uber will match individual consumer contributions made through the Restaurant Contribution feature in Uber Eats.
“The U.S. Black Chambers (USBC) applauds Uber’s commitment to small business owners who rely on its platform to reach customers, particularly as restaurants navigate a challenging winter,” said Ron Busby, President of USBC. “Black-owned restaurants have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and we are delighted that our members will benefit from the $4.5 million grant program and continued waived fees.”
Tom Bené, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, said restaurants are still dealing with “unprecedented challenges” and the support commitment from Uber shows the importance of the entire industry working together.
“These microgrants will help independent restaurants stay open and continue serving their customers and their communities,” he said.
Uber Eats saw business escalate over the pandemic and is confident the momentum will continue even after everything returns to normal. More people have used the platform than ever before and many new customers have joined.
Uber’s in-app restaurant contribution option will send funds directly to users’ selected restaurants. Uber is also planning to match funds up to $3 million.
Independent restaurant owners hoping for assistance via the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) have said the second round of stimulus fell short of what was needed by the industry.