- Uber has launched Uber Eats Pro, a driver incentive program available in over 200 U.S. cities, to provide food delivery drivers with perks including access to 100% tuition coverage at ASU Online for the driver and family members, according to a company press release emailed to Restaurant Dive.
- This is an expansion of its existing Uber Pro program that was introduced last year to provide ride-share drivers with points toward tiered rewards such as discounted car maintenance, cash back on gas and 100% tuition coverage at Arizona State University Online for drivers or a family member.
- Uber Eats Pro incentives also include third-party partnership discounts on helmets and priority support.
Uber is aggressively diversifying its portfolio, adding a shift-match feature, a Moments feature that offers cooking classes and dining experiences, and Uber Money in the past month alone. Now it’s extending its driver rewards program to its Eats platform and perhaps for good reason. With the gig economy growing rapidly, food delivery providers are faced with a shortage of quality drivers, especially since most of the company's view their drivers as independent operators. Uber Eats was sued in 2017 for classifying its drivers as freelancers, and Postmates drivers protested for higher pay in June. DoorDash was pressured to change its tipping policy following consumer pressure.
One potential solution to appease drivers has been by offering more incentives. Postmates offers access to perks from local and national retailers, as well as access to the JVS (Jewish Vocational Service) Job Search Accelerator Program for San Francisco-based drivers. DoorDash is testing a challenges program that provides extra pay for drivers that complete specific delivery goals. Grubhub has a similar program to Uber's that focuses on rewards. Drivers can earn discounts on auto deals, QuickBooks Self-Employed, Stash and other financial planning-focused programs.
Deliveroo has an extensive list of driver perks as well, including free access to online courses and scholarships, but Uber's benefit of offering full tuition reimbursement for an advanced degree goes one step further. The Uber/ASU partnership initially launched in November 2018 and is broader than the Starbucks/ASU partnership because it extends the benefit to family members. The objective is to provide more access to higher education degrees, which could potentially move drivers into another, non-gig career, and almost certainly incentivizes drivers who want to achieve that goal.
It is also a savvy PR move. If Uber is encouraging better service from its drivers, tuition remission is undoubtedly a good place to start. However, the company has gone through three rounds of layoffs since August and has yet to turn a profit. It’s going to take more than driver perks to find some traction.