Fast but slow

UberEATS delivers food from select local restaurants to USF’s campus. ORACLE STAFF/JACKIE BENITEZ

UberEATS opened its (car) doors to Tampa on last week, making it one of the first 30 cities to
welcome the service.

Even though ridesharing is still illegal in Hillsborough County, the Public Transportation Commission has no jurisdiction over food delivery services. This allows UberEATS and competitors such as GrubHub, Eat24 and Seamless, to operate in Tampa.

According to Davidson Prevot, the manager of Alez Caribbean Restaurant and Lounge, a Haitian restaurant off Fletcher avenue, sales from the first week have been satisfactory overall, but not yet great. Prevot attributes this slow start to the short time that the service has been available. 

However, he has seen some positive effects already, in the form of new customers trying Haitian cuisine for the first time.

“I’m pretty sure that if it wasn’t for UberEATS, they would have never tasted it,” Prevot said. “It’s just a different way for our food to get out there.”

Uber driver Leroy Fortune,  42, agreed with Prevot about the pace of UberEATS’ order, as he has had two deliveries since the service started. 

He thinks this might be due to the fact that, for Uber drivers to get delivery orders, they have to be close to restaurants that are available on the app, and not all of the restaurants are located in areas commonly frequented by Uber drivers.

Fortune said that he first received the announcement about the ridesharing service’s foray into the delivery industry about a month ago.

“They sent me a little text talking about it, so I started looking into it myself so I thought it was a good way to supplement when I’m not driving someone around,” Fortune said. “(It’s) another good thing to keep me moving.”

There are already multiple posts on USF’s Facebook “Class of” groups from students asking classmates for discount codes that allow users to take $10 off their first order.

Fidel Chung, a senior majoring in mass communications, has already used it twice since last week.

“So far it’s been a five-star experience both times,” Chung said. “I guess because they’re just starting, they’re not really congested with a lot of people. They’ve been on time. I haven’t had any problems. The Uber drivers are nice. The food always comes as I expect.” 

There haven’t been many complaints about the app, but Chung had one in particular.

“The only thing that they don’t do is … put utensils or napkins,” Chung said. “It’s not really a problem, but it would be nice to have it.”

Both Prevot and Fortune have said that most, if not all, of their order so far have come from USF students living on campus.

“I do think that it is a great program,” Fortune said. “I think that Uber did a great thing with their whole business demographic and how they’re doing it. I think it’s a benefit to a lot of people. I would hate to see it leave. It really supplements part of my income that really helps me out a lot, for something that I could do with my car and that is so easy to do.”