Uber Eats deleting 5,000 fake restaurants that share menus in dark kitchens

Several customers notified the platform that there were establishments that offered different entries within the application with the same dishes. 

The platforms focused on the delivery of food at home, such as Just Eat, Glovo, or Uber Eats, already existed before 2020, but as a result of the pandemic their use began to be further normalized. Some businesses were forced to close their physical premises as the rent was not profitable for them and they saw an alternative in the delivery apps. They continued to earn profits from the orders and did not have to spend extra in an establishment with limited capacity, waiters, and electricity or gas bills.

The term for establishments that are promoted on Uber Eats and similar services and that do not have a location is ‘dark kitchen’ or ‘ghost kitchens’. This is because there is no physical site for the restaurant, but instead, they resort to their kitchens in their homes, to tiny spaces, without the adequate conditions to serve customers in person, etc.

Three years have passed since the covid-19 worsened, but several hoteliers have continued to deliver only at home through apps designed for this. Uber Eats wants to put an end to several brands that are only available online, and therefore this tactic could end.

As the platform explains, the same users are registering with different names, but offering the same menu. John Mullenholz, supervisor of Uber Eats, comments in the Wall Street Journal that there are diners who have seen 12 versions of the same dishes, and “that erodes consumer confidence.”

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To prevent this, Uber Eats plans to wipe out 5,000 online restaurants, which make up around 13% of North America’s virtual brands. Among them are 12 Colorado establishments selling identical breakfast burritos, 14 brands offering the same sandwiches from a New York store, and a Pakistani restaurant in San Francisco that has gone so far as to post its menu 20 times.

These tactics are used by restaurant users to game search results or draw attention to their offerings, for example. To avoid this, Uber Eats will force more than half of a virtual brand’s account menu to be different from each other and to upload at least five photos of exclusive items on the menu.

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