Wednesday, Sept. 6, marked the debut of UberEATS in the Reno-Sparks area. The food delivery app, created by ride-sharing service Uber, boasts nearly 50 restaurants to order from, according to an UberEATS press release. These restaurants include GourMelt, Noble Pie Parlor Midtown and Bab Cafe.
Each restaurant is contracted on a month-by-month basis. Every order taken through UberEATS is split 35 percent to Uber, 65 percent to the restaurant. Some restaurants, such as local favorite Süp, have reacted negatively to the price split.
Süp, a popular venue in Midtown, was one of the first businesses to be targeted by UberEATS, explained Süp co-owner, Kasey Christensen. Upon learning about the price split, Christensen and her husband, Christian, decided to opt out of the service.
“Restaurants are lucky if they make anywhere from 10/12 percent as a bottom line. Giving away 35 percent just for the guy taking your food out the door really didn’t work for us,” said Christensen.
Despite her holdbacks on the price split, Christensen believes that food delivery services in Reno would be beneficial to the community. She is hoping that competitors step up and offer a more affordable, small-business friendly alternative to UberEATS.
“How wonderful would it be for Lyft to come in and come up with their own food delivery service option at a better rate,” said Christensen, “Treat the restaurants fairly and give customers what they want.”
Some businesses who opted in for UberEATS agree with Christensen’s views on the price split. Jessie Anderson, owner of Two Chicks and GourMelt is able to see the pros and cons of signing with UberEATS. Two Chicks opted out, but GourMelt signed up in order to expand their customer base.
“Now that I’m learning that they’re getting six dollars for every order plus my 35 percent, it definitely turns me off a little bit more to the whole idea of it,” said Christensen.
GourMelt opened in September of 2016, making it a relatively new business. However, older, more established businesses, like Noble Pie Parlor, finds UberEATS just as difficult as the new kids on the block.
Noble Pie Parlor signed up for UberEATS to help ease the workload of their own delivery driver staff. Ryan Goldfinger, the co-owner of the pizzeria, finds the contract unsustainable for his business.
“It doesn’t make any sense. It’s an extreme concern. If anything, the reason why we might eventually elect to not use the application would probably be solely based on that cut,” said Goldfinger.
The price split is not the only issue businesses are running into. Some are finding that both drivers and restaurant staff are untrained and unprepared.
“We had some issues working on getting a printer set up and having the orders print directly to the kitchen,” said Goldfinger, “And we were getting multiple drivers showing up to pick up the same order over and over again.”
Despite these initial setbacks, business owners remain optimistic about their future with UberEATS. Goldfinger expressed that while he is hopeful that UberEATS will change their business plan to benefit local businesses, he is not sure it will happen.
“I do not see them making too many adjustments on behalf of Reno, considering they’re in so many major cities. That would have to more of a nationwide cry for help.”
In contrast to restaurant owners, Reno residents have shown their excitement for the new service, especially students at UNR who do not have cars. Lindsey Baker, a student who lives on campus, first grew accustomed to the ease and convenience of UberEATS after using it during her summer internship in Boston.
“Having it here makes thing so much easier because half the things on campus close super early, so if you need something at 9 p.m., they can bring it to you,” said Baker.
Paolo Zialcita can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.