How an unauthorized Uber Eats listing caused chaos for this coffee shop

Julie Hyman
·3 min read

A few months ago, Uber Eats delivery drivers started showing up at Strange Brew, a coffee shop in an Indianapolis suburb, to pick up orders.

There was only one problem: there were no orders to pick up, because Strange Brew said it didn’t partner with Uber Eats. So it hadn’t authorized the listing on the app and it didn’t have the orders ready for customers.

It’s causing a lot of headaches, said cafe co-owner Toni Carr, especially since drivers always seem to appear during busy times at the shop.

“Since COVID, we’ve re-arranged our restaurant. We have this small area for pickup orders, and then they’re clogging up this pickup order area for about 10 minutes while my employees could be doing something else,” she told Yahoo Finance Live. “Our other customers that are waiting there trying to pick up their orders or place their orders are suffering for it.”

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An Uber spokesperson said in an email statement to Yahoo Finance that "there was an error in processing the request of this specific merchant to de-list from Uber Eats, which has now been resolved. We've worked hard to make it simple and efficient for merchants to opt-out, and are disappointed this standard wasn't met here."

Uber Eats had a limited access program for businesses that was designed to show businesses the value of partnering with its platform. But Carr said Uber Eats never contacted her company about the program before listing Strange Brew on its site. She told Yahoo Finance Wednesday night that her company’s listing was finally removed, but added that she still never heard from Uber Eats after repeated attempts to speak to someone there.

Uber Eats is far from alone in its practice of putting up listings from restaurants with whom it has no business relationship. There have also been reports of most of the other large food delivery services, including Grubhub and DoorDash, doing the same.

Carr said it feels like a tactic to pressure her into signing on with Uber Eats — which she has no intention of doing.

“Right off the top, they take a huge percentage, and when you’re in food service, there isn’t a big markup to begin with,” she said. “Also, we have our own, in-house delivery, and it’s over a smaller area, because when you’re dealing with coffee, you want it fresh and hot. So we do our own in-house delivery to make sure you can control the quality of what’s going out.”

Uber Eats has been a bright spot in Uber’s (UBER) earnings this year. For the third quarter, delivery revenue rose by 125% year-over-year, and the number of active partnered restaurants rose by more than 70%.

Julie Hyman is the co-anchor of Yahoo Finance Live, weekdays 9am-11am ET.

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