FILLING THE GAPS

Uber has announced plans to launch a restaurant accelerator programme to fill the gaps in the London restaurant scene. Through this, Uber Eats will be able to continue to cater to its customer base with unmatched demand.

In collaboration with Karma Kitchen, a kitchen-space retail company in East London, restaurants will be selected for three-week programmes where they will be exposed to everything from food photography to streamlined delivery assistance. Selected restaurants will be chosen based on their ability to ‘fill the gap in the market’. For example, if there is a high-demand for spicy food in a particular area, a restaurant that will cater to this sort of crowd may be chosen.

The collaboration is a good way for smaller businesses with one location to expand and grow their customer base. Uber is investing in places that may then increase business—theoretically a win-win. The accelerator program will work intensively with restaurateurs on branding, marketing and operations. Not only this, but restaurants will be helped practically, with assistance in hiring, passing inspections, streamlining workflow and aid with accounting software.

Karma Kitchen will host the programme in their shared kitchen—a space that usually gets rented out as private kitchens.

Following the accelerator programme, Uber has announced that it will guarantee their orders for at least six weeks. The company said that the graduating restaurants would receive enough business to be able to afford rent payments, as well as not getting subsidised directly by Uber, either.

With an increasing demand for ‘ghost kitchens’, or ‘dark kitchens’—kitchens that have no retail or sit-in space—Uber is just one of several companies looking into rental kitchen space. The growing popularity for these types of venues lends itself to the demand for delivery and streamlined customer experience. Currently, Uber boasts more than 900 virtual restaurants or online-only restaurants without storefronts.