Uber Eats is now asking customers in some locations to donate a set fee to support their favorite local restaurants. A new contribution button appears at the checkout, and is in addition to any tip that the customer chooses to give to their delivery driver.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of a controversial crowdfunding initiative launched last week by Yelp and GoFundMe, which partnered to automatically create fundraisers for business owners listed on Yelp — without their permission. Yelp backtracked after some businesses protested at being opted in without consent, and the initiative was paused until it could be made an opt-in option instead.
While the new Uber Eats fundraising tool pushes for a similar goal, its execution is unlikely to garner as much negative feedback given the way it has been integrated into the checkout process inside the Uber Eats app. Once the user has chosen their food, they can tick a box to add an extra $2 onto their bill, the entirety of which goes to the restaurant. If the user doesn’t tick the box at the top, they are prompted again at the end once they hit the “place order” button.
Initially, the donate button will only be available to Uber Eats customers in New York, though plans are afoot to expand this into other cities across the U.S. and other countries in the coming weeks.
This new feature also feeds into a broader initiative, which saw Uber last week join as a founding partner of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s (NRAEF) Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF), which is setting out to give financial aid, in the form of $500 grants, to workers across the restaurant industry who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Initially, Uber said it donated $2 million to the fund, and now it has committed to match all contributions made through the Uber Eats app up to a further $3 million.