Uber Eats is now making it a little bit easier for customers to support black-owned businesses in their communities.
Last week, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that the company would be waiving delivery fees for customers who order from black-owned restaurants for the rest of the year.
Khosrowshahi called the move "a starting point" and addressed the recent demonstrations against police brutality, saying that he is hopeful witnessing peaceful protesters demanding change.
"We must do better. We know there is no easy solution to the problems we have faced for centuries. We also know that we need to devote our time, energy and resources toward making a difference," Khosrowshahi wrote. "That’s why we’re making a number of commitments that we will uphold not just this week, but for years to come."
The food delivery service is also donating $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative and Center for Policing Equity, offering discounted rides to black-owned small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and promoting black-owned restaurants within the Uber Eats app in major cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Many Uber users said they were thrilled to hear about the company's efforts to support members of the black community — or just enjoy a meal from a great restaurant without having to shell out extra for delivery.
But hundreds were critical of the move, accusing the company of "discriminating" against other businesses, including eateries owned by other people of color.
Some urged the company to support small businesses by decreasing or eliminating the commission fees restaurants are charged for using Uber Eats' service.
An Uber spokesperson confirmed to TODAY that the company will only be waiving customers' delivery fees and said there are no plans at this time to alter existing agreements (or eliminate fees) for its restaurant partners.
In recent months, food delivery services like Uber Eats, Grubhub, Doordash and Postmates have come under fire for charging fees (some called them exorbitant) during a time when restaurants have been forced to rely on takeout and delivery service to survive at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. In May, an Uber Eats spokesperson told TODAY Food that the company's restaurant partners typically pay a marketplace fee between 15-30%, depending on the services they select. Restaurants that use the Uber Eats delivery service pay a fee capped at 30%, while those electing to use their own delivery team pay a 15% marketplace fee.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Uber Eats started waiving marketplace commission fees for all pickup orders in mid-March and said it will continue to do so through June.
In addition to connecting more customers to black-owned restaurants, Uber said it also plans on promoting diversity in its own workforce with two measures.
"We are committed to making Uber a diverse and inclusive place for people of color to work and thrive," the CEO said in his statement. "While we have more work to do, we have tied our senior executives’ pay to measurable progress on our diversity goals, and will continue to publish data on our workforce so the public can hold us accountable. We’re also committed to expanding opportunities for drivers and delivery people, including through education opportunities and skills training."