Throughout the pandemic, virtual restaurant platforms became the most popular way for consumers to get food and beverages with social distancing restrictions still in place.
As the trend continues, the post-pandemic world has not only seen a lesser demand for the service, but vocal consumers have been critical of the need for regulation of the struggling sector of the restaurant industry.
Popular food service app, Uber announced that the company will launch a virtual restaurant, certification programme, which is aimed to keep governance over redundant and poorly performing brands on the platform.
Head of dark kitchens for Uber Eats, John Mullenholz said that all restaurants on Uber Eats need flexibility in order to experiment with this task.
“There are now 40,000 virtual restaurants on the platform, up from 10,000 virtual restaurants just over a year ago,” said Mullenholz.
“We started to realize that instead of playing whack-a-mole with concepts that look very, very similar, we wanted to create a blanket policy that could apply fairly at a national scale to help address some of the issues we’re seeing.”
The strategy outlined will have two objectives, as the virtual restaurant certification program needs to provide support for restaurants that wish to launch future virtual brands, and are also applicable to provide quality control for existing menus on the app.
In order for virtual restaurants to comply with Uber Eats guidelines, they must supply images of five items on their menu, descriptions for all items, and all menu items must be 60 percent different from parent restaurants. Restaurants are also required to be of a 4.3-star rating or above to sell through the platform, have five percent or lower orders cancelled by the operator, and have a minimum of ten orders rated by customers. Corporations are also restricted from launching more than one virtual restaurant on the app every four weeks.
Mullenholz said that the software used by Uber Eats seeks duplicative menus.
“That's an issue that we've seen pop up on social media with some customers talking about how they're seeing two brands that have the exact same menu but one says John’s Burgers and the other says Joanna’s Burgers,” said Mullenholz.
Uber Eats has compiled a list of restaurants that do not comply with its guidelines and regulations, and will begin a communication process to manage the issue in due course.