Uber Eats

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Uber Eats Company Logo [1]

Uber Eats

Uber Eats is a platform that allows users to have their food and drinks ordered from a restaurant delivered to them.[2] Uber Eats acts as a platform both online and on your phone as an application. The goal of this platform is for users to efficiently receive their favorite food from local restaurants at the comfort of their homes. Once you order your food and drink from your favorite restaurant, you will now alert another person on the application to act as your driver, who will pick up the food from the restaurant and deliver it to your desired location.


Uber Eats’ delivery platform was launched by its parent company Uber in 2014. It was founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. It is currently served in 45 of the 50 states with over 6000 cities across the nation.

However, Uber Eats was not always as successful and extensive of an organization as it currently is. It used to be a much more limited experience. The food and drink options were not nearly as full as the menu you are served in restaurants or even as its other competitors in its primary stages. For example, a user only had seven choices during the lunch hour and it was only a feature among the Uber platform itself.

Over time, the parent company Uber released a product out onto its standalone application. Its availability started in Los Angeles but soon reached the rest of the country very early in its development. The new application developed from a lunch service into efficient and effective all-day deliveries with full-menu options from numerous restaurants.[3]

Uber Eats’ Management

Uber Eats was founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2014, and its current CEO is Dara Khosrowshahi. The former CEO Jason Droege played a huge role in the beginnings of the company.

This 40-year-old protégé started his college days co-founding a file-sharing startup at UCLA. He was always interested in the idea of ride-hailing and tried everything from diapers and deodorant to dry cleaning. He realized nothing worked except for the transport of food. Droege continued to experiment with different types of foods like delivering ice cream and BBQ on Independence Day. Uber’s first serious attempt was with Uber Fresh, where drivers would move around with coolers full of hot food ready for efficient delivery. When Uber Fresh launched in Los Angeles in August 2014, the team had hundreds of meals in an hour and a half, which is far more than the eight orders a day for deodorant.

This is when Droege realized that the food business for ride-hailing is indeed successful, but Uber Fresh could expand much further than just hot soups and sandwiches. This thought process soon led Droege to the idea that customers would wait for any meal they have wanted if it was around 30 minutes. Hence, Uber Fresh transformed into Uber Eats.

Uber Eats was started in Toronto in 2015 instead of big cities like New York where the competition for similar platforms is higher. Then, Uber Eats expanded into Miami and Houston. In 2017, the business became profitable, which led Droege to believe that this company does indeed have the possibility of being prosperous.

While times seemed bright, the executive board was receiving severe reports of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and other questionable business ethics. This eventually led to Kalanick being removed and Droege and his team untouched.

Over time, these allegations slowly dwindled, while the company’s success continued to prosper even more so than before those allegations. This helped Droege and current CEO Khosrowshahi to believe that Uber Eats is a truly significant business.[4]

Uber and its Affiliation with Uber Eats

Uber Technologies Inc, commonly known as Uber, is a platform where users can connect with drivers who can deliver them to their desired location. Uber was founded in March 2009 in San Francisco, California. Users will utilize the mobile application or online website to request a ride, and a nearby driver accepts your request. The application will display the estimated time of arrival for your desired pickup location and allow users to reach their destination with a processing fee. The fee is calculated based on the specific driver rate, as well as the estimated time and distance the driver will have to travel the passenger. On top of that, to ensure safety, Uber drivers will have to encounter a specific record and criminal history check which is reviewed by Uber.

After its production and expansion, Uber has not only been top of its competitors for ride-hailing applications but also disrupted modern transportation as we know it and become the highest-valued private startup company in the world. Currently, Uber reported a net income of $1.1 billion, $3.9 billion in revenue, and 1.5 billion trips on its platforms. Accompanied with Uber being one of the most explosive growing companies, Uber has completed some high-profile acquisitions like JUMP, Postmates, Drizly, and Lime. Along with its growth, Uber eventually released Uber Eats as its separate company in 2014, where delivering passengers changed into delivering food.[5]


There are three main steps to having the user retrieve their food at their doorstep. The first step is to browse through the restaurants, pick and order your food from the full menu, and track the delivery order.[6]


Over time, the arsenal of restaurants that are available on Uber Eats has greatly increased. Uber Eats has hundreds of restaurants to choose from. Users can easily scroll through these various options and even achieve inspiration to find orders from local restaurants. When browsing through, the user will have the option to pick a specific cuisine for food or even a category of an item they would like to order. The cuisines include healthy, Indian, Mexican, Sandwich, Burger, Pizza, American, and many more. The categories of items users could choose from are groceries, alcohol, convenience, pharmacy, baby, specialty foods, retail, etc.


After a cuisine has been selected, the application will allow you to select from restaurants around the local area that are originally filtered by rating. However, the user can filter by numerous different options, including most popular, rating, delivery time, etc. Once the vendor is chosen, users can pick the items from the restaurant that they would like to order from. Users can add items to an ongoing cart similar to numerous websites. When everything looks right, just tap the Place Order button. You can use various types of payment methods, including Uber Cash, Apple Pay, regular debit and credit cards, and voucher codes.


After you place your order, users can follow the order in the application. This includes preparing the food in the restaurant and the actual delivery person approaching the restaurant. The delivery person can come on a bike, scooter, or car. When you are displaying the screen with the tracking information, the user will be able to see the driver’s name, photo, track their progress on the map, and estimate the time of arrival.


Although the online food delivery space has many competitors, there are still numerous ways ride-sharing applications for food can grow. Each company has its pros and cons to its online ordering system, but this non-exhaustive list is explained to display a point of reference for Uber Eats.


Grubhub is another delivery marketplace, and one of the biggest competitors to Uber Eats. Grubhub is a part of Just Eat Takeaway.com and features more than 300,000 restaurants in over 4,000 U.S. cities. It was originally established in 2004 in Chicago, Illinois as a carryout menu website, but in 2014 it accelerated into a food delivery service similar to Uber Eats.[7]

A big factor that is causing a difference in GrubHub and Uber Eats is the transparency of delivery costs. Since determining the full cost is a very big factor in the user experience, Uber Eats does a good job of listing the restaurant delivery price right below the title, whereas Grubhub does not show the cost of delivery on restaurant listings. GrubHub will not show the delivery price until you have reached the checkout. Additionally, Uber Eats offers an itemized list of restaurants sorted by the cost of delivery, which helps users select which matches their budget. Since delivery is a key component to ride-sharing applications, the more transparent the delivery costs are to the user, the more likely the user will engage in that specific application.[8]


DoorDash is another delivery-sharing company that enables users to reach thousands of restaurants, convenience stores, pet stores, grocery stores, etc at their fingertips. Starting in the fall of 2012 in Palo Alto, DoorDash filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in 2020 and transcended into over a $3.3 billion company. DoorDash began its expansion into international markets in 2015 and now provides service to more than 7,000 citizens across the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Japan.[9]

The first feature to compare between Uber Eats and DoorDash is their requirements for drivers. DoorDash has a minimum age requirement of 18, no restrictions on the type of car, and their use of bikes and motorcycles. Uber Eats has a minimum age requirement of 19 in the U.S. and 21 in Canada. They do not allow bikes and motorcycles and only allow cars that are younger than 20 years old and have two or four doors. The second feature we will be referring to is early-access scheduling where eligible DoorDash dashers can view the Dasher schedule 6 days in advance. Now active in U.S. and Canada, early-access scheduling allows eligible users to get a head start on what the next week entails for deliveries, allowing them to plan better and further usage of the application.[10]


Snackpass is an application that is also focused on the transportation of food to their customers, however, it is centered on takeout rather than delivery.[11] It is a social commerce platform that focuses on mobile order pickup at local restaurants.[12] It was founded in 2016 by two students of Yale University. Within the first few months of its development, 80% of Yale was using it. Two years later, Snackpass has raised over $23 million in funding and branched out to 11 campuses. Today, Snackpass is used amongst its users for multiple meals of their day.[13]

Although Snackpass is focused on ordering takeout and skipping the line, it allows users to unlock discounts with friends, send gifts, and collect points. Delivery applications, like Uber Eats, GrubHub, and DoorDash, don’t have this reward system when providing a food delivery system.


Postmates is another application that allows users to get their food, drinks, groceries, and other merchandise through delivery or pickup. Founded in 2011 by Sean Plaice, Postmates has transcended into being over a $1.85 billion-dollar company.[14]

One key difference is that Postmates offers delivery from nearly any restaurant or store while Uber Eats only offers delivery from their partnered restaurants.[15] Additionally, Uber Eats allows customer service by providing telephone support, which is not provided in Postmates. In terms of pricing and delivery speed, the two applications are similar.

Ethical Limitations

Predatory Payment

Payment is a big factor that is involved in the process of food delivery. In every food delivery application, customers have to pay additional fees to suffice the service of the driver and the company as a whole. However, this raises the question of whether the customer’s payment is evenly distributed between restaurants and Uber Eats. They insist on taking a large cut of the overall order price that harms the prices restaurants will be receiving.[16]

Uber Eats’ customers pay a service of 15% of the subtotal, a delivery fee (which ranges based on your location, driver, availability), and a $2 order fee (if the total order is under $10). The breakdown of the payment for the Uber Driver is the pickup ($1.50 per trip), dropoff ($1.00 per dropoff), distance ($0.65 per mile), and time ($0.30 per minute). All of these additional charges equate to the 30% commission on each order that restaurants have to pay.[17]

Applications like Seamless and Grubhub have fees within the 12 to 24 percent range. Other companies like Delivery.com, DoorDash, Postmates, and Caviar all take between 15 and 23 percent. Uber Eats takes a 30 percent cut of the boll on orders they deliver. This raises the question of whether or not restaurants are receiving enough pay per customer’s orders. Is the cut that Uber Eats taking the necessary amount or too much?[18]

Additionally, another aspect of Uber Eats is their order error adjustments. When an item is missing in order or the item is incorrect, the customers will get a refund. When items are missing, the customer will get refunded the sales price of the item. If the entire order is incorrect, the customer is refunded the entire order, including tax and delivery fee. Total refunds are deducted directly from the restaurant's pay, regardless of how the item is missing.

What can restaurants do about this extra payment? For example, Caitlin Crawfurd, owner of Petty Cafe in Melbourne, accused Uber Eats of acting like ‘feudal overloads’ and removed her restaurant from the Uber Eats directory. Similarly, Josh Arthurs, owner of Burgers by Josh, made the same decision because he felt like he was cooking for free for each Uber Eats order. Josh also received a 1-star review on his restaurant because the food was received cold after the long delivery, which is out of his control.[19]

Each restaurant has to undergo the thought process of adding their restaurant to the directory. The main advantage is that restaurants will receive more awareness and marketing if they are partnered with Uber Eats. The main disadvantage is that 30% commission they have to pay.

Driver Exploitation

In addition to the predatory payment, delivery riders are not receiving the necessary pay they think they deserve. In 2018, delivery riders for Uber Eat staged a protest in Sydney stating that they earn as little as $6 per hour, which is less than a third of the Australian minimum wage. In the UK, Uber Eats paid their drivers close to 20 pounds per hour. Over time, the service payments decreased, which overall resulted in the decreased pay for the drivers. Many drivers struggle to live a sustainable living already in the food delivery economy, so this lack of protection of the standard minimum wage can be detrimental to their health.[20]

Overcrowded Restaurants

In 2019, Darby Hane, an hostess of a Sushi restaurant in Los Angelos, stated that delivery services make an average day at the restaurant very tough. She said the restaurant becomes too crowded and there tend to be more delivery people than restaurant patrons are waiting for a table. She stated this makes the job as a hostess very inefficient since the hostess is in charge of seating guests, answering the phone, and taking reservations and walk-in orders.[21]

COVID-19 Effect

During COVID-19, people felt less inclined to enter restaurants because of the spread of the disease, which resulted in the spike of the customers and drivers that resulted in delivery applications like Uber Eats.

With the quarantine in place, mainly during the year 2020, the company Uber Eats saw an approximate increase in 10% of the sales. In addition to increased sales, Uber Eats has seen a 30% surge in customers signing up for service and new drivers.[22]

Although the business has been well for Uber Eats, they have placed a detrimental effect on small, local businesses and restaurants. In addition to the commission, restaurants have to pay, they receive far less money per customer since fewer customers are willing to enter the restaurant in person. In addition, the spread of COVID-19 all depends on the safety precautions of Uber Eats.[23]

The safety precautions Uber Eats placed is the Leave at the Door delivery (specific feature drivers have to click), delivery instructions to communicate with your driver, washing your hands before and after receiving food orders, social distancing in restaurant pickup, and encouragement of drivers to stay home if they are unwell and restaurant health and safety practices. However, these safety precautions can not be monitored on an individual driver basis. Customers will have to trust the company of Uber Eats and how well each driver can stick to the protocols. This is especially concerning when the peak of COVID-19 was very unknown to the world and even doctors and scientists were not completely aware of the situation at hand.[24]

Uber Eat’s Solutions

Since numerous ethical scenarios stem from order accuracy, Uber Eats has posted potential ways to prevent this fault in order accuracy and help all stakeholders not lose their money.

First, customers can log into the Restaurant Manager or applications like Yelp to ensure the menu is current and customizations are correct. Restaurants can check off items on the printed receipt to confirm their contents. They can seal each bag and write the order number on the bag. Lastly, there should be a double check between the driver and the restaurant provider that the correct food was taken to be delivered.[25]

Uber Engineering has designed a new method to improve time efficiency for delivery partners and eaters. They have synchronized the location data and motion data to work in tandem. This will allow them to see when a delivery partner has been signaled to order, arrived at the restaurant, en route to the drop-off location, and arrived at the drop-off point and completed the trip.[26]


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