[By Marco Chiappetta]

While much of the world is social-distancing, under quarantine, or in total lockdown due to COVID-19, it appears to have given some business a boost – in the U.S. at least. According to a report published at The Information, Uber Eats has seen a sizable surge, in a number of key areas.

Even with quarantines in place in virtually all of Uber Eats’ largest markets, the company saw an approximate 10% increase in sales last week, versus the week before. That’s a significant uptick at this time of year, especially considering there is a global pandemic underway. With super markets wiped clean, however, and communities trying to support local small businesses – like restaurants — that are being hit hard by forced shut-downs, it’s easy so see why sales have surged.

In addition to increased sales, Uber Eats has reportedly seen a 30% surge in customers signing up for the service and it has received an influx of new drivers as well. Uber’s ride share business has slowed considerably during the pandemic, and drivers that once engaged exclusively with Uber have now turned to Uber Eats to supplement their income.

It also appears that more restaurants are connecting with Uber Eats. “This is an uncertain time for all of us, and business as usual looks much different than it did just a few weeks back” an Uber spokeswoman said in a statement. “We’re focused on being there for restaurants, delivery people, and their customers to provide a safe and reliable marketplace now and in the long haul.”

With their dining rooms shut down, restaurants are looking for additional ways to connect with potential customers. According to the report, chains like Chipotle, which historically have worked with competitors, have begun leveraging Uber Eats, not to mention innumerable small businesses in multiple markets. Yum Brands (which owns Taco Bell) is being courted as well.

The increase in Uber Eats’ business isn’t likely to offset the decrease in Uber’s ride-share demand, but it is a glimmer of positivity among mostly bad news lately. Then again, the additional business will possibly increase Uber Eats’ losses. The service reportedly loses money on most orders and it has waived delivery fees in some large markets like New York and San Francisco. Fees for a number of independent restaurants have been waived as well.

~source