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How does Uber Eats work? Everything you need to know

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By
January 16, 2023

Food delivery services enjoyed incredible growth over the past couple of years during the height of lockdowns. Still, they have always been popular options for getting restaurant food without leaving the comfort of your own home. There’s plenty of competition in the space, with services like GrubHub and Door Dash. But Uber, known for its ride-sharing services, offers excellent food and grocery delivery services as well. Uber has a dedicated Uber Eats app that you can use to place orders and enjoy restaurant food without leaving the comfort of your own home. Here’s everything you need to know about Uber Eats and how it works.

Read more: How to use the Uber app and hail your first ride

What is Uber Eats, and how does it work?

An Uber Eats courier on a bike
Uber

Uber launched its food delivery service in 2014. It started as Uber Fresh before the company renamed the service to Uber Eats a year later. Uber Eats customers can choose from hundreds of local restaurants and various national and international cuisines. Uber Eats is available in around 30 countries and thousands of cities. Simply place and pay for your order through the app. Uber Eats accepts major credit and debit cards, has regional payment options, and even takes cash in some cities. The restaurant will confirm your order, prepare the food, and an Uber driver will pick it up and drop off your food at your destination.

Of course, delivery charges, fees, and tips will make your meal more expensive than if you were to dine in or pick up the food yourself. Not to mention that some restaurants tend to mark up the prices of items. Don’t be surprised if you notice something is more expensive on Uber Eats as a way to make up for the high commissions that Uber charges restaurants. While the convenience is undeniable, it’s important to know that using food delivery services can hurt your wallet. Making your own meals will ultimately work out cheaper, more often than not.

You can place orders using the dedicated Uber Eats app that you can download from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store and on the Uber Eats website. However, you can avoid downloading multiple apps if you are an Uber rider. The regular Uber app now has a “delivery” section which includes everything you’ll find on the Uber Eats and Cornershop (for grocery delivery) apps.

How to use Uber Eats

Creating an Uber Eats account

Download the Uber or Uber Eats app and set up an account with your name, phone number, and email address. Create a password, and you’re good to go. You can also create an account by linking it to your Google, Facebook, or Apple accounts.

If you already have an Uber account, you can sign in to the Uber Eats app with the same information. You should definitely use the same account if you subscribe to Uber One. The benefits of Uber’s subscription service apply to both apps, including discounts on rides and food delivery, zero delivery charges, and reduced fees with most services.

You will be asked to add a payment method (on the Uber app) and set your delivery location (on Uber Eats), but you can skip these steps and add them later.

How to add an address on Uber Eats

You will be asked to set up your delivery location if you’ve just created an account. But you can always add or change this information later.

To add an address on Uber Eats, tap on the location at the top of the page. The app will automatically detect your location if you allow the location permission. Tap on Enter new address and enter the street information. In most cities, the app should quickly find the street you’re trying to add. Tap on the street, add other details like the flat or suite number and building name and set up your delivery preferences.

The three delivery options include meeting at the door, meeting outside, or leaving the delivery at the door. You can also add info like the buzzer code and more directions in the Add instructions box. Finally, tap on Move pin on the map above to accurately pinpoint your location. This will make it easier for Uber drivers to find your house, apartment building, or office.

How to add and remove payment methods on Uber Eats

To add a payment method, tap the Account tab at the bottom right corner, go to Wallet, and tap Add payment method. Add credit or debit cards or Uber gift cards here. You will also see region-specific options like Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo, and more. You can add multiple payment options and pick the one you want to use when placing your order.

Uber Eats first started accepting cash in 2017 in India (a market it has since bowed out off), and the option is available in some locations. You will see the option during checkout if you are in a place where Uber Eats accepts cash. While confirming your order, tap Payment method and select Cash, if available. If you don’t see the option, Uber Eats does not support cash payments in your country. You can’t make cash payments in the US, Canada, and a few other countries.

To delete a payment method, go to Account > Wallet, tap on the option you want to delete, and select Remove payment method.

Creating and placing an order on Uber Eats

Now that everything is set up, you are ready to place an order. You can scroll through the list of restaurants on the home page or go to the Browse tab at the bottom to find options based on cuisines, delivery times, and restaurant ratings (in the Best Overall section). You can also see current offers in the Latest Deals section.

If you are looking for a specific restaurant or dish, use the search bar on the Home or Browse pages. Watch out for delivery fees, though. Restaurants farther away will have higher fees and charges, which can add up if you aren’t an Uber One subscriber. Even a subscription may not guarantee zero delivery charges.

Pick a restaurant and select the items you want to order. Tap on an item, go through the customization and add-ons if you want to make any changes, and tap Add to cart. Once you’ve made your selection, tap View cart. You’ll see your order and the option to request utensils, straws, and more.

Tap Go to checkout to finalize your order. Confirm your address and delivery instructions, or tap on the location to change it. Depending on your city, you will also have the option to set up a Priority Delivery, ensuring that you will get the delivery first without any stops. You can also schedule a delivery for a particular time. Select Payment method if you want to change it from the default, and tap Next at the bottom of the page. You will see if Uber Eats accepts cash as an option in the Payment method section. Add a tip with preset options for 15, 18, 20, and 25 percent. You can choose Edit to add another tip amount.

Tap Place Order to complete your order. Now all you have to do is wait. Uber’s estimated delivery time is pretty accurate in my experience, but delays at the restaurant or traffic issues can happen. The Uber driver or restaurant will contact you if items are unavailable or send a message on the Uber Eats app. Don’t miss these messages since the restaurant can cancel an order if you don’t respond.

How to cancel an Uber Eats order

You can cancel your Uber Eats order, but you must do so quickly. The chances of getting a refund reduce after a restaurant accepts and starts preparing your order, and you cannot cancel it after a driver picks it up. To cancel your order, go to the order tracking view (green bar at the top of the Uber Eats app home page), and tap Cancel order. Some card refunds might take a few days to process.

Get help with your order

Little is more disappointing than receiving your order and finding missing items. You can contact your driver if there were delivery issues or you didn’t receive the delivery at all. To get help or report issues, go to Orders in the Account tab, tap on your order, and select Get help. If there are other problems, tap Get help > Past orders to open the automated chat. You can report issues like your order not arriving, wrong or missing items, unknown charges, food damage or quality problems, and more.

Rate the restaurant and delivery driver

If you’ve received your order and everything looks good, open the Uber Eats app to rate the delivery driver and restaurant. Instead of a five-star rating system, you have a thumbs up or down option to rate your delivery experience. You can also positively or negatively rate the restaurant and every individual item you’ve ordered.

What is Uber One?

Uber replaced its Uber Pass subscription with Uber One, which is basically the same service. For $10 a month, you will get free delivery, a five percent discount on select orders, reduced fees, and a slew of deals, including “buy one get one free” at plenty of restaurants. Uber will also give you $5 if your order is delayed beyond the Latest Arrival estimate. Uber One also gets a five percent discount on all rides if you use Uber for ride-sharing.

To subscribe to Uber One, go to Account > Uber One and tap subscribe. The subscription is a no-brainer if you frequently use Uber and Uber Eats. It will only take a few deliveries to make up the monthly subscription cost you’d otherwise spend on delivery charges and other fees.

If you want to cancel your Uber One subscription, go to Account > Uber One > Manage membership and tap End membership.


Read more: The best food delivery apps on Android

FAQs

Yes, Uber Eats delivers alcohol in select cities and countries. You will see an Alcohol tab if it is available. You will need to meet the driver to show your ID and be older than the regional age limit to receive an alcohol delivery.

Yes, Uber Eats drivers can see tips before accepting a delivery if you choose to add a tip while placing your order. You can change the tip after the delivery in case of poor service or delivery problems. Uber Eats drivers will also take cash as a tip.

You will see different delivery charges, fees, and even item pricing from restaurants on Uber Eats and DoorDash. According to CNET,  DoorDash is cheaper than Uber Eats by a significant margin in some cases. If you plan to use either delivery service often, it’s best to pick one and get their respective subscriptions. An Uber One subscription has the benefit of ride-sharing discounts and perks with the Uber app as well.