Uber Eats and Competitors Crack Down on Virtual Brands to Improve User Experience

Uber Eats cuts 8,000 virtual brands from its app after rolling out strict quality-control requirements.

The crackdown on virtual brands continues as Uber Eats removes 8,000 duplicate menus from its app. This comes as the company aims to ensure authentic restaurant options for consumers and minimize confusion. The move follows similar actions by DoorDash and Grubhub in addressing the issues posed by virtual brands.

Virtual brands, which offer delivery-only menus prepared in ghost kitchens or existing restaurants, experienced rapid growth during the pandemic. However, the clutter, confusion, and lack of accountability associated with these brands have prompted delivery apps to take action.

John Mullenholz, Head of Virtual Restaurants and Dark Kitchens at Uber Eats, highlighted the problem of duplications between virtual and brick-and-mortar restaurants, stating, “We saw many duplications for a virtual restaurant operating out of a brick-and-mortar where the two menus were, if not incredibly similar, exactly the same.”

To tackle duplication, Uber Eats now requires virtual restaurant menus to be at least 60% different from the parent restaurant and other virtual brands operating from the same location. DoorDash and Grubhub have similar requirements in place.

While these stricter rules have impacted virtual brand operators, industry experts believe that virtual brands still have a place in the market. However, ensuring high-quality food consistently will be crucial to their long-term success.

Meredith Sandland, CEO of Empower Delivery, emphasized the importance of delivering great food consistently, stating, “You have to consistently deliver great food to people, or people will stop ordering it.”

As the food delivery landscape evolves, striking a balance between innovation, authenticity, and quality will be key for virtual brands to thrive. Stay tuned for further updates on the future of the virtual brand industry!

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