Cincinnati Chef Jose Salazar Urges Diners to Order Pick-Up Rather Than Delivery Through Uber Eats

According to Salazar, while the platform has eliminated delivery fees for the consumer, the company still charges restaurants 30 percent

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Chef Jose Salazar - Photo: Marci Rhodes
Photo: Marci Rhodes
Chef Jose Salazar

A well-known Cincinnati restaurateur and chef is urging customers to support their local restaurants by ordering food for pick-up, rather than through third-party delivery app Uber Eats. 

According to Salazar, who owns Mita's downtown and Goose & Elder and Salazar in Over-the-Rhine, the delivery service has waived the delivery fee for customers, but the 30 percent "marketplace fee" for restaurants who use the service remains. That means more folks are opting for delivery rather than carry-out because of the discounted rate and convenience, which is in turn costing the restaurants in the long run. 

According to an email sent by Uber Eats to Ann Salazar, Jose's wife, "the marketplace fee is the fee Uber charges restaurants that helps cover costs including, without limitation, credit card processing fees, support and much more."

Jose reached out to the delivery platform to discuss the fee. 

"When I questioned Uber Eats in a phone conversation today (March 30) they said, 'Keep in mind that you are getting more orders.' My response was, 'Yeah — more orders where 30 percent is taken by Uber Eats,'" Jose said in an email. "Essentially, not only are they not offering relief, they are actually taking advantage and capitalizing on the situation."

In that same email from Uber Eats, the representative lays out an example of the payment system: 

  • Order Subtotal : $100.00
  • Tax (10%) : $10.0
  • Total tax and food charges to customer : $110.00
  • Uber Fee (30% of the $100 Order Subtotal) : - $30.00
  • Net Payout ($110 Total Minus the $30 Uber Fee) : $80.00

From Uber Eats' perspective, the move to waive the fee for customers was intended to benefit restaurants.

"We’re focused on boosting business to independent restaurants on our platform, and we know that reducing Delivery Fees is helpful. Other service fees are used to support the Uber Eats marketplace and ensure it remains reliable," the email from Uber Eats to Ann reads.

Jose posted on his personal Facebook page on March 30 to let his patrons know about his frustrations with Uber Eats, and how to better support your local restaurants. 

"Just so you all know... Uber Eats has waived the 'delivery fee' for the consumer, yet has kept a 30% fee in place for the restaurants!!! In essence Uber is taking advantage by driving more people to use their service, which does nothing to help the restaurant! If you want to help restaurants — do pick up vs delivery if possible."

The post has been circulated heavily throughout the Cincinnati area, with 72 shares as of March 31. 

Jose mentioned that they are considering switching to a different delivery platform. 

In a story on CNBC, DoorDash, another third-party delivery app, said it would eliminate or reduce some of the fees it charges restaurants in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The same story says Grubhub, another delivery app, "would temporarily suspend up to $100 million in commission fees for impacted independent restaurants." 

Supporting the restaurant industry is incredibly important to Jose, who recently teamed up with chef Edward Lee's The LEE Initiative to offer hot meals (to go) and groceries out of Mita's to food and beverage industry workers who have been affected by coronavirus-related closures. 

If you're planning to support your local restaurants by ordering meals, opt for carry-out whenever possible, where all funds will go directly back to the business. 

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