Uber Eats has said that it will shut down thousands of online-only brands from its app this week as the platform is being flooded by restaurants listing the same food options with different names.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the number of virtual restaurants on Uber Eats quadrupled to more than 40,000 this year from over 10,000 in 2021, accounting for 8 percent of Uber Eats’ storefronts listed in the US and Canada but less than 2 percent of bookings in the region.
Virtual restaurants (or online-only brands), also known as ghost kitchens, lack a physical location where customers can sit and eat.
“Diners are effectively seeing 12 versions of the same menu on the app. It’s fair to say that kind of erodes consumer confidence,” John Mullenholz, who oversees the business at Uber Eats, was quoted as saying.
Uber Eats intends to close 5,000 online storefronts, accounting for approximately 13 percent of virtual brands in North America.
Moreover, the company said the new guidelines will be implemented on Tuesday, requiring that more than half of a virtual brand’s menu differ from that of its parent restaurant and any other brands from the same kitchen, according to the report.
Uber Eats will also require online brands to include photos of five items that are unique to its menu, plus it will remove virtual restaurants with average ratings of less than 4.3 out of 5 stars, a higher standard than physical restaurants.
Meanwhile, Uber Eats has rolled out a new ‘View as Delivery Person’ feature in the US and Canada, which will show users how much of their personal information a courier has access to during the delivery process.