uberEATS
Ops

How does uberEATS work for restaurants?

uberEATS is one of the major players in the food delivery space. They work much as Deliveroo and Just Eat do, but they have their own version of the workflow, their own tablet to manage orders, and their own quirks.

In this post, I will walk through the how their process works. This is from the view of a restaurant outside of a busy urban area (like London), so your mileage will vary in more densely-populated areas.

Onboarding

It was a long time ago when we did this, but I do recall there were no onboarding fees at the time. However, although they provide you with a tablet to manage the order flow, they don’t provide you with a printer which you either fund yourself or manually enter orders into your own POS. The printer costs around GBP320 and will be essential if the kitchen team are accepting the orders because, once you get a handful of orders, using the tablet to work out what you need to prepare is impractical. If your front-of-house team are accepting orders and copy them to your POS this is not an issue, but you’ll need somebody to do this.

Onboarding is smooth and you are given a full online dashboard where you can self-manage many of the variables of your restaurant – opening hours, menu, etc.

The Order Process

There are three main sections (tabs) shown down the left of the tablet screen. These represent

  1. New Orders,
  2. In Production, and
  3. Ready for Collection.

The intention is that you manage the flow of the orders by pushing the relevant button when ready.

New Orders

When a new order comes in, the restaurant dashboard screen on your tablet flashes green and a sound plays. The idea here is that you can see the order and ‘hand it off’ to the kitchen, which means print or rekey it into your POS.

Once you click CONFIRM on the order, this means it is in production and your team are cooking it (the customer receives a message also). This means a driver will be allocated as uberEATS give you an assumed preparation time (like Deliveroo) and you need to get cooking!

The problem here is that it is usual to click CONFIRM assuming it means you have accepted the order, and not started cooking it (which is actually what it means). Your team need to be trained to make sure they properly manage the order queueing system on the tablet.

The user guide even says “Once you’ve had a chance to review the order details, tap the CONFIRM button to accept the order,” but I would caution against this until the team start to produce the order (remember, it notifies the customer and queues up a driver).

In reality the steps are:

  1. ACCEPT the order (and stop here).
  2. CONFIRM the order once you start cooking.
  3. Mark it READY FOR COLLECTION once it’s complete.
  4. Wait for the driver to collect it. It will disappear from the ready for collection area on the tablet once the driver confirms receipt on his or her app.

In Production

The system gives you the EXPECTED PICKUP TIME and TIME GIVEN. The EXPECTED PICKUP TIME is when the driver is scheduled to arrive and pick up the order, and TIME GIVEN is the total estimated time needed to prepare the order for pick up and this is based off your restaurant’s average prep time for the ordered item.

You can edit your food preparation times on the website through your company’s dashboard including adding longer times at your peak hours, and shorter ones at your off-peak times.

Once the food is ready, you click the READY FOR COLLECTION button and it moves to the next stage.

Ready for Collection

The driver then arrives and you hand the food over them. Sometimes they will arrive before you are ready! And sometimes they don’t arrive until much later than expected, leaving you with unhappy customers.

In my experience, uberEATS don’t run as smoothly in our area as Deliveroo do. We have experienced this often and it frustrates customers and hurts our reputation.

Hidden Costs

One downside with uberEATS is that they add a 10% fee to the order for the privilege of the customer using the system, plus a small delivery fee. They also charge you their sizeable commission also, so they are taking good money from you, the operator, plus a commission from the customer. On small orders, this becomes background noise, but for larger orders, customers don’t like feeling like they are being robbed (as one customer told me this week).

Payments to your business are settled weekly.

Support

A lot of customers have been frustrated lately as they are unable to get any sense out of uberEATS, or even get through, and have turned to us to help. This is unfortunate as the customer’s contract is with uberEATS and there’s not much we can do other than send in an email. Often, this results in a ‘please encourage the customer to get in touch’ email, but the customer has been trying and asked us to help. As with most support centres, I’m not sure if people read the emails we send the first time or if it’s a bot that parses the text and suggests something. My suspicion is the latter as the response clearly shows the original email was not read (and I make sure I write very short, very direct emails to avoid confusion).

Reporting

Getting sales data out of uberEATS is relatively easy. There are options to download data as CSV for a daily summary, a weekly summary, payment details and a multi-location report. However, you can only download them one week at a time so getting historic data will be a repetitive process.

The first two are very similar and dropping them into Excel means you can produce your own more detailed analysis.

One good thing is that uberEATS allows you to manage your menu online and set the correct VAT amount for each item. So cold items are zero-rated and hot items are at 20%. One more thing to manage, but once done it’s done. Therefore, VAT is deducted for you by uberEATS and you only receive the net value after tax and commissions are deducted.

Questions to Ask

When onboarding with any delivery company there are a few key questions to ask:

  • How much commission do you charge?
  • Does this change if we work with other delivery partners?
  • How far do you deliver?
  • How reliable is your fleet in my area?
  • Is there an onboarding fee?
  • How long do support requests take to answer?
  • Do I have an account manager?
  • How do I escalate issues?
  • What can I control from the ordering tablet? (This is usually menu items and whether you are open or not, but do check)
  • Do I have a control panel where I can manage my menu and restaurant?
  • How much control does this control panel give me?

I hope you found this little guide useful? Let me know in the comments and feel free to ask for more articles you’d like to read. Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading this article about the restaurant business. I hope you liked it! If there is anything you'd like me to discuss or write about just let me know in the comments or via the contact form.

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