A bemused eatery owner reached out recently on Facebook’s Café Owner’s Forum to start a discussion about a situation that occurred with Uber Eats.
An Uber Eats driver picked up an order from the establishment, then ten minutes later the driver cancelled the order. The food was not returned to the establishment, nor did it reach the customer. The customer contacted the establishment who checked with the Uber Eats 0800 number, Uber Eats confirmed that the order had been cancelled by the driver and advised that they would investigate.
Neither the customer, nor the establishment has been left out of pocket, with Uber Eats refunding both parties, but as the owner pointed out, it’s not a great look. Plus, the question remained; what happened to the food?
Did the Uber driver simply help themselves to a snack? What are the consequences for drivers who do this? How safe is your food once it leaves your premises?
At the time of publication, Uber Eats has not returned a request for comment but on their online Community Guidelines they advise the following:
“Merchants are encouraged to seal packages in tamper-evident packaging.”
In similar fashion to their guidelines around food safety ratings, Uber Eats seems to put the responsibility of any tampered food squarely on the shoulders of the merchants. They do however offer this statement online:
“Delivery partners should never touch, take or eat any part of an order – this is considered theft and may result in the loss of access to the Uber Apps.”
If it is really considered theft surely the delivery partner deserves harsher treatment? The loss of access to the app will result in a loss of income for the driver, but it is surprising that there doesn’t seem to be the kind of disciplinary system in place that most food establishments would have if a staff member was caught in a similar situation.
Food tampering is a serious matter, especially now in our COVID concentrated world. Third-party delivery businesses need to take this sort of malpractice seriously and look into what can be done to prevent it in the future.
Have you had a similar experience with Uber Eats or another third-part delivery company? Let us know your story, contact firstname.lastname@example.org