Uber Eats now lets you donate $2 to support your local restaurants

Uber is asking customers in some locations to a set fee to support their favorite restaurants. A contribution button now appears at checkout, in addition to any tip the customer chooses to give their delivery driver.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of a controversial crowdfunding initiative launched last week by Yelp and GoFundMe, which partnered to automatically create fundraisers for business owners listed on Yelp — without their permission. Yelp backtracked after some businesses complained about being opted in without consent, and the initiative was paused until it could be handled on an opt-in basis. While the new Uber fundraising tool pushes for a similar goal, its execution is unlikely to garner similar negative feedback, given the way it has been integrated into the checkout process inside the Uber Eats app.

Once the user has chosen their food, they can tick a box to add an extra $2 to their bill, the entirety of which goes to the restaurant. If the user doesn’t tick the box at the top, they are prompted again at the end once they hit the “place order” button. This default donation figure could change as Uber iterates the feature during the initial test phase.

The donate button will only be available to Uber Eats customers in New York at launch, though there are plans to expand it to other cities across the U.S. and to other countries in the coming weeks.

This feature feeds into a broader initiative, as last week Uber became a founding partner of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s (NRAEF) Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF). The organization is setting out to give financial aid, in the form of $500 grants, to workers across the restaurant industry who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Uber said it has donated $2 million to the fund and committed to matching all contributions made through the Uber Eats app up to an additional $3 million.

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