Uber Eats is closing thousands of virtual restaurants to make the app less spammy

Uber Eats is removing some of the delivery-only restaurants on its app to help weed out low-quality listings, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The company has confirmed The edge that it introduces a new set of standards for virtual restaurants that should help reduce listings that sometimes contain the same menu.

Virtual restaurants, also known as ghost kitchens, don’t have a physical location where you can actually sit down and eat. Instead, they often lack existing restaurants, warehouses, and sometimes even parking lots and only exist to sell food on delivery apps like Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash. While some of these locations are independently run, others are owned by larger companies that franchise their brand to a chain of individual operators, like MrBeast Burger. Uber also offers its own virtual restaurant program that helps entrepreneurs start their own ghost kitchens.

But since some of these shadow kitchens are often run by the same company — and sometimes out of the same location — this can lead to repetitive listings, where a restaurant might have a different brand but the exact same menu. It’s the type of redundant listings that Uber Eats is cracking down on, as it now requires virtual locations to have menu items that “are at least 60% different” from any other virtual restaurant “operating from the same physical location.” . The same goes for the brand’s “parent restaurant” or the kitchen that houses the virtual brands.

THE Log reports that Uber is removing about 5,000 virtual kitchens

Also, Uber will now require the ghost kitchen And its parent restaurant for maintaining a 4.3-star rating or higher on the app, having 5% or fewer orders it canceled, and having an incorrect order rate of 5% or lower. Uber notes that it “reserves the right to remove RVs from Uber platforms that are non-compliant.”

As noted by the Log, Uber Eats is removing approximately 5,000 virtual kitchens from the app in violation of this policy, including 14 virtual brands selling the same menu at a New York deli. That’s just a small fraction of the number of ghost kitchens available on Uber Eats. According to Log.

“Communicating – and beginning to enforce – these new quality standards for virtual restaurants on Uber Eats is an important step for our program, designed to benefit both consumers and merchants,” said John Mullenholz, virtual restaurant manager. of Uber, in a statement emailed to The edge. “We have been careful to introduce standards that allow our restaurant partners to continue to be creative, as we know that delivery-only concepts are an exciting way for operators to invest in growing their businesses. “


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