In an effort to declutter their app, Uber Eats is purging a reported 5,000 online-only brands that have different names yet serve the same menu as other virtual storefronts.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the pandemic brought about a rise in online businesses, quadrupling since 2021. They now make up 8% of Uber Eats’ U.S.-based online storefronts. Out of those, the delivery giant plans to purge around 13%.
Apparently, the company has already discovered 14 brands that somehow offer the exact same sandwich — it actually originates from a New York deli. Twelve random brands were also caught selling a breakfast burrito that belonged to a Colorado sports bar. In addition to duplicate menu items, small businesses try to play the system by creating duplicate menus. Doing so influences the search results, potentially increasing brand visibility. A San Francisco-based Pakistani restaurant even replicated its online menu 20 times.
Sam Brown, a 22-year-old New York City student shared his experiences ordering on Uber Eats with WSJ, “The other day I typed breakfast and literally had like 20 restaurants with the same menu blow up in my face.”
While some hope for better search result placement, others make separate brands that have the same menu options in order to highlight their offerings. For example, a restaurant with a large menu may create separate brands for their menu’s subcategories — giving them a new name and product shot. It's understandable, considering how hard it is to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
This week Uber Eats plans to announce new guidelines that require over half of their virtual brands to offer different menus than their parent restaurant, or other brands made in the same kitchen. Brands must also list five unique menu items. Lastly, if the average rating falls below 4.3 out of 5 stars, the brand will also be removed.