UberEats, the ride-hailing giant’s standalone food delivery service, is about to get more expensive for some customers. Uber announced Thursday that it would begin applying extra charges to some food deliveries in times of high demand when couriers are in short supply. That’s right: UberEats is finally getting surge pricing.
Uber says the exact amount that delivery prices are surging will appear above the menu, and as a separate line item before checkout and on the order receipt. “This way, [users will] still be able to order from the same variety of restaurants they love with fast delivery time,” Ben Dreier, UberEats product manager, writes in a blog post.
“The extra money from these orders goes toward financial incentives for delivery partners as well as our other operational costs,” Drier adds. “These partner incentives look at past patterns and aim to predict where and when there will be high demand and to encourage more people to get on the road in these locations.”
But whether customers will be able to stomach paying $30 for a grain bowl remains to be seen. The market is currently crowded with delivery apps, from platforms like Seamless and GrubHub to services that employ their own fleets of freelance couriers like UberEats and Caviar to select-menu operators like Ando and Maple. Hungry business-types suddenly have a literal menu of options when it comes to having their food delivered, and its not a sure bet by Uber that it can keep its users happy with higher prices.
The first cities to see surge pricing for their UberEats deliveries are Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, DC, Miami, and Atlanta.
The move to apply the much-loathed-but-tolerated surge pricing to its food delivery service comes about eight months after Uber first launched the service as a standalone app in many big US cities. UberEats has since spread to dozens of other locations, today operating in 43 cities across the globe.
Meanwhile, surge pricing has become more of a way of life for Uber, even as the ride-hailing giant has gone to great lengths to all but erase it from its app. It recently rolled out a new version of its app that replaces surge pricing with upfront pricing, arguing that its removing the hassle of doing math to determine how much a fare is going to cost.