To combat the overwhelming number of identical menus flooding its app, Uber Eats is shutting down thousands of virtual storefronts and implementing new guidelines. The move comes as the company faces a growing problem of virtual brands, which are created solely for food delivery and often offer the same menu options under different names.
According to The Wall Street Journal, many restaurants create multiple virtual brands to "game search results" or ensure their food gets seen by more potential customers. The situation has become so bad that regular users of Uber Eats have noticed the same menu options appearing under different brand names.
YouTuber Eddy Burback demonstrated this issue in his video "The Deceptive World of Ghost Kitchens," where he discovered 44 restaurants on Uber Eats all sharing the same address and ending up eating nine identical fish sandwiches ordered from different virtual brands.
With over 40,000 virtual brands operating on Uber Eats, the company realized it needed to take action. Head of dark kitchens at Uber Eats, John Mullenholz, admitted that a lack of rules has created a "Wild West" of businesses competing, which results in app users "effectively seeing 12 versions of the same menu."
To address the issue, 5,000 virtual brands will disappear from the app this week. The new guidelines state that virtual brands must have more than half of their menu items differ from those of the parent restaurant that created the brand. Additionally, each brand must include photos of five items that are unique to its menu.
The goal of these changes is to prevent identical menus from overwhelming users and eroding consumer confidence. By cracking down on virtual brands and enforcing stricter guidelines, Uber Eats hopes to create a more reliable and enjoyable experience for its customers.
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