Uber has distributed $4.5 million to 900 local restaurants around the U.S. as part of its Eat Local Support Effort, the company announced.
Most of the recipients of this grant funding were women or people of color, “who we know have been among those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Uber Eats said on its blog.
Uber worked on the program with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which helped identify the restaurants in need, particularly those owned by women and people of color. The program was open only to small and medium-sized restaurants with no more than five locations.
Each restaurant received grants of $5,000, part of Uber’s Eat Local Support Effort, a $20 million program to help local restaurants announced earlier this year. The company kicked it off Super Bowl Sunday with an ad campaign featuring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey resurrecting their “Wayne’s World” characters.
The program also included policies around entirely free products — specifically Pickup on Uber Eats, Daily Payouts to Merchants, and Online Ordering tools — to ease financial concerns through the reopening.
Last month, Uber released its first-quarter earnings showing gross bookings up 24 percent year on year to $19.5 billion. Mobility reached a new high of $6.8 billion. Delivery revenues rose from $527 million in the first quarter of last year to $1.7 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
Things look less rosy for the restaurant industry overall. While figures released earlier this month from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that restaurant workers account for a third of all new jobs added in May, the National Restaurant Association says the industry’s employment figures are still below their pre-pandemic levels.
Full-service restaurants are down 14 percent, bars 25 percent and catering 32 percent. Buffets took the biggest hit, with job losses of 58 percent. It’s a figure that shouldn’t be surprising, given people’s concerns about the coronavirus.