UPDATE: Dec. 21, 2020: Uber Eats added new insights to its Uber Eats Manager by sharing data with partners on how a merchant's operations on the marketplace compare to others in their area and suggesting actions that can be done to improve, according to an email sent to Restaurant Dive. The updated insights were created after receiving feedback from merchants that wanted more real-time data to help make more informed decisions about their customers and operations. Insights also now include information like menu views and loyalty, relative to others. The company added a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" feature to provide feedback on whether the insights are useful.
- Uber Eats launched a U.S. pilot program Tuesday that will allow partner restaurants to provide online ordering directly on their websites either for pickup or delivery with no commission through the end of the year, Therese Lim, head of restaurant product at Uber Eats, said during a press call on Friday. Using this tool, restaurants will be able to customize their colors and themes and create a branded experience on their website. The company also extended its waiver of all restaurant fees for Uber Eats pickups in the U.S. and Canada for the rest of 2020, she said.
- The company also added an Uber Eats Manager mobile app to allow restaurant managers to monitor delivery business on the go, according to a press released shared with Restaurant Dive. The app will track sales volumes, operational statistics, earnings and sales trends in real time, Lim said. It will also alert the manager if something goes wrong in the store, such as if a tablet was accidentally unplugged or if a staff member forgot to accept a delivery order. Restaurant partners have access to the company's Customer Engagement and Customer Insights Dashboard features, which will be accessible in the Eats Manager and a traditional desktop or browser. Customer Engagement will allow restaurants to respond to customer complaints or compliments, while Customer Insights allows restaurants to view consumer behavior and clicks to gain a better understanding of ordering patterns.
- Top-rated restaurants will be highlighted as Top Eats based on monthly evaluations of customer feedback and operational metrics, Lim said. These businesses will be highlighted with a Top Eats badge, similar to how Airbnb Super Hosts function. In Uber's previous experiments, Top Eats’ restaurants tend to earn 6% more in sales, she said.
While Uber Eats released several new products within the last few months, most of these innovations have been on the consumer side, such as its mapping feature for pickups, restaurant loyalty program and priority delivery. The platform's latest products are solely for the benefit of restaurant partners. They could be particularly helpful in solidifying new partnerships during the pandemic, which has left many operators scrambling to build off-premise channels to survive.
Of particular note of the five new features launched today are tools that offer commission-free services and ones that allow for better direct connectivity with restaurants and consumers, addressing two long-held sticking points restaurant owners have had with third-party delivery.
"We've heard loudly and clearly that restaurant partners are looking for more flexible and affordable ways to partner with Eats," Lim said. "For many Eats restaurant partners, commissions are top of mind, especially as ongoing health concerns obviously keep dine-in restrictions in place."
This discontent has boiled over into various temporary caps on delivery commissions across different cities in the U.S., much to the chagrin of third-party aggregators that have stated these caps only lead to higher customer fees and, ultimately, a decrease in demand for restaurants.
Offering commission-free tools and promotions can help restaurants get a head start on delivery and pickup and build a relationship with a third-party aggregator like Uber Eats. DoorDash is also expected to launch its digital turnkey storefronts for partners this month, and will offer waived setup fees. Having a turnkey online ordering capability will also make it easier for restaurants to drive their own demand instead of having to rely on being one of many in a crowded marketplace. It also runs in line with a growing trend of restaurants offering branded online ordering.
With Uber Eats' manager app, operators can also directly engage with customers to respond to issues or thank them for patronizing their businesses. The additional insights gained through this feature will also provide restaurants with tools that will allow them to adjust offerings to drive customer demand. This could be particularly meaningful for independent restaurants that don't necessarily have the resources to build this kind of customer monitoring on their own.