La Casita Pupuseria & Market to Leave Uber Eats

La Casita Pupuseria & Market will leave the Uber Eats delivery platform on Friday, March 31, according to a post on the restaurant’s Instagram account.

The restaurant cited rising costs as the reason for the departure. Delivery will continue to be available through La Casita’s website and the Toast app.

“We will no longer be available on the UberEATS platform as of March 31, 2023,” the announcement reads. “In order to maintain a reasonable price and be able to apply profits to staff and improvements we have made the decision that delivery service through UberEATS has become too high a cost for our restaurants. We continue to offer delivery through our website and the Toast App. This service offers a flat fee to our customers [and] allows us to maintain [a] reasonable price point.
Thank you for your understanding 🤍”

It is interesting to note that La Casita’s announcement coincides with Uber Eats’ announcement of its intention to remove approximately 5,000 brands that sell food through the platform, many of which work as ghost kitchens.

Seeing so many different versions of the same options “erodes consumer confidence,” John Mullenholz, head of dark kitchens at Uber Eats, said in a Wall Street Journal report published this morning.

Ghost kitchens, which became more popular during the pandemic, are not physical restaurants, but rather virtual versions of restaurants that are often looking to increase sales and attract new customers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Uber Eats offers food from roughly 40,000 virtual brands, an increase from 10,000 in 2021.

Locally, Mid-Atlantic Seafood in Takoma Park has operated up to 25 virtual restaurants, with names including Fry Me a River, Burger Mansion, GastroPub, Nonstop Breakfast Club, Burger Land, Caroline’s Country Fried Cafe, and more, according to a 2020 Washington City Paper report.

Restaurants have begun opening modified versions of ghost kitchens that allow customers to pick up their orders in person after their order was placed digitally. Last week, Chipotle opened a “Chipotlane” at Briggs Chaney Marketplace, and another location is now open in Langley Park.

Starting Tuesday, Uber Eats will require virtual restaurants to include pictures of five unique items from its menu.

In addition, each brand’s menu must contain more than half of the items that differ from its parent restaurant’s menu. A report in 2022 by Business Insider stated that DoorDash and Grubhub have policies requiring that half the items on a virtual restaurant menu differ from those on a physical restaurant’s menu.

The new requirements for Uber Eats are part of a broader set of rules for virtual brands that the company plans to implement this week, according to Business Insider.

“Communicating — and beginning to enforce — these new quality standards for Virtual Restaurants on Uber Eats is an important step for our program, designed to benefit both consumers and merchants,” Mullenholz said in a statement. “We took care to introduce standards that let our restaurant partners continue to flex their creativity, as we know delivery-only menus are an exciting way for operators to invest in the growth of their businesses.”

Photo Courtesy of Uber Technologies Inc.

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