One of the more scammy practices on delivery apps is getting curbed on Uber Eats.
The spin-off service from Uber’s ride-share app is going to substantially reduce the number of “virtual restaurants” on its app, per the Wall Street Journal(Opens in a new tab). These are delivery-only restaurants that may not have a true physical home, or are listed at the same address as another restaurant because they’re actually run by that other restaurant.
According to the WSJ report, Uber Eats is now home to more than 40,000 virtual restaurants (or “ghost kitchens”), up from just 10,000 in 2021.
The same report gave a few examples of the kind of thing Uber Eats wants to remove from the app, like a New York City deli listing the same menu under 14 (!!!) different names.
Is Your Food Delivery Coming From a ‘Ghost Kitchen’?
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To be clear, Uber Eats is only cracking down on the extreme cases, with plans to remove about 5,000 of those ghost kitchens from the app.
Creating a virtual restaurant is not only allowed on Uber Eats, but there’s an entire webpage(Opens in a new tab) with new official guidelines on how to do it. For instance, a virtual restaurant’s menu needs to be at least 60 percent different from the menu at its parent restaurant or any other businesses operating out of the same venue.
In the meantime, always use Google Maps to find out if the place you’re ordering from is actually real or not.