Uber Eats has added an in-app donation feature to its checkout process in some locations that lets customers contribute extra cash to a restaurant. The company said in a blog post that 100 percent of donations will go directly to the restaurants.
Once a user proceeds to checkout within the Uber Eats app, they will see an option to give $2 to the restaurant. Uber Eats will match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $3 million to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The company is also contributing an additional $2 million to the fund, which goes towards restaurant workers whose jobs have been impacted by mandatory dining room closures. The National Restaurant Association, which runs the fund, predicts the loss of millions of restaurant jobs over the next few months.
Uber Eats’ donation fund comes on the heels of some donation controversy Yelp found itself at the center of recently, when it launched a fundraiser with GoFundMe for local restaurants without actually getting those restaurants’ permission. There was no opt-in option, and according to some restaurants, the opt-out process was overly complicated. After quite a bit of bad press, Yelp paused the program.
Uber Eats’ donation program doesn’t have an opt-in option, either. The company says restaurants can opt out easily if they choose, and the decision to bolt donations onto the checkout process may be less intrusive for restaurants than setting up a full-on fundraiser without their consent.
Uber Eats previously announced it was waiving delivery fees for customers of independent restaurants in the wake of the ongoing pandemic that’s disrupted daily lives and business. However, the service is still charging restaurants high commission fees on every order. Small donations from customers aren’t going to offset the financial burden of those commission fees.
Uber is trialing the donation program in NYC and plans to expand the program to other U.S. cities this week.