Uber had a tumultuous year. As the pandemic made ridesharing both dangerous and scary, Uber lost a net total of $6.77 billion in 2020. But instead of retreating, Uber doubled down on its food delivery business, acquiring Postmates in July and turning Uber Eats into a dominant brand in a growing space. Delivery drew $1.7 billion in revenue for Uber in Q1, a 270% increase from the year prior.
Jill Hazelbaker, SVP of marketing and public affairs at Uber, helped lead the way. Under her direction, Uber Eats improved its app to make local restaurants more discoverable and added a Stories feature. Hazelbaker is also working on the company’s Go and Get initiatives, which make ordering more flexible by allowing people to pick up a meal during an Uber ride. Uber Eats became so big in the past year that it was the focus of Uber’s Super Bowl campaign, which revived Wayne’s World characters in a run-in with Cardi B.
However, Uber has by no means been the savior of independent restaurants. Like most food delivery services, Uber Eats takes a 30% cut on deliveries, a hefty chunk for local restaurants struggling to stay open. Uber has also long been criticized for denying drivers benefits by employing them as contractors. That debate came to a head last summer when California voted to approve Proposition 22, which allowed these practices to continue in the so-called gig economy, thanks in part to an aggressive lobbying campaign from Uber and Lyft.