Tag Archives: Uber Eats

Huge Restaurant Tip: Order Direct. Then Pick It Up!

When COVID struck, Westporters rushed to support their favorite restaurants.

Owners who already had an online ordering/takeout presence heated up their efforts. Those that did not quickly cooked one up.

The ability to pick up a meal curbside — or have one delivered to your home — helped many restaurants survive.

It’s easy to pick up an order at Jeera Thai, or have it delivered. But behind that convenience, there’s a surprising story.

But most customers have no idea how much the service costs those same restaurants they think they’re supporting.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce wants us to know that 3rd-party apps, and delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub, feast on restaurateurs’ bottom lines.

Those platforms charge fees up to 30% to the restaurant for delivery — and up to 25% for an order that, amazingly, a customer picks up herself.

Viva Zapata co-owner Bob O’Mahoney says, “those fees are our profit margins.”

Viva Zapata has been around for over 50 years. To survive the pandemic, it needs diners’ help.

The Chamber wants to help. They’re launching an initiative called “Order Direct — Pick It Up.”

The idea is simple: Use a restaurant’s own website or app to make a takeout order online. Or just call by phone, then pick it up.

“This simple adjustment will put those excessive fees back in the pocket of our local friends and businesspeople,” says Chamber director Matthew Mandell.

Restaurant owners understand that delivery is important to some people. Pane e Bene owner Angelo Capponi notes, “70% is better than 0%. But we also offer takeout, and we hope people will come to us. They can just call us up.”

It’s easy to have Uber Eats on your first smartphone screen, or speed dial. But it’s just a step or two more to Google a website, then click on your order. Or press “call.”

If you love a restaurant enough to support it with takeout, take those few seconds to cut out the 25 to 30% fee they toss away, as they toss your salad.

As the Chamber of Commerce says: Order Direct. Pick It Up!

(Graphic courtesy of Miggs Burroughs)

COVID Roundup: “Parade”; “Taps”; Restaurant Info; Kelli O’Hara; More


If you’re like many Westporters, missing today’s Memorial Day parade was tough.

If you lived near downtown though, you were in luck.

Neighborhood kids were invited to decorate bikes. They rode — appropriately apart — from Wright Street to Orchard Lane, Ludlow Road and Kings Highway North. Over 40 youngsters (and a few parents) took part.

Spectators stood on their porches, and clapped. There was a street party afterward — still socially distant, but able to celebrate in the new old-fashioned way.

(Photo/Anne Hardy)


At 3 p.m. today (Memorial Day), a bugler will play “Taps” on the plaza between Saugatuck Sweets and The Whelk. It’s part of “Taps Across America,” a project initiated by CBS “On the Road” correspondent Steve Hartman.

Masked, appropriately distanced residents are invited to attend.

“Taps,” at Westport’s 2015 Memorial Day ceremony.


Todd Pines has been thinking about our dining scene. He writes:

“While restaurants are starting to open with limited capacity, most business is likely to be takeout  for the foreseeable future. Ordering through behemoth delivery services (Uber Eats, Grubhub, etc.) takes an enormous split of the tab, further challenging restaurants’ ability to survive.

“Residents should understand the small impact they can make by calling a restaurant directly, seeing if they offer their own delivery staff. You can also consider getting in your own car, and picking up your meal directly. It means a lot to the restaurant owner.”

For a deep dive into delivery services, click here.

PS: Todd adds, “For the entrepreneurial-minded, a lot of college students and high school seniors are looking for work. They could help those restaurants with delivery, pocketing the tips while not forcing restaurants to discount their tab.”

Layla’s Falafel offers great food — and they have their own delivery service. Ordering direct helps them stay in business.


Speaking of which: Winfield Street Coffee is back open, just over the downtown bridge. Hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and catering. There’s takeout, curbside pickup, delivery, and a few new seats on the sidewalk.

Also new: a “Reserved Parking/To Go Orders Only” sign, right in front. In these times when local businesses need all the help they can get — they’re getting it!


One of the underrated treasures of any Memorial Day is the PBS concert, broadcast from Washington, DC. It’s America at its best.

Last night’s show was different. The pandemic canceled the live show, so musical guests appeared on tape, from all over the country.

And right there among them was Westport’s own Kelli O’Hara. The Tony Award winner delivered a haunting rendition of “Fire and Rain.” Its refrain “but I always thought that I’d see you again” — juxtaposed against scenes of loved ones visiting graves of the men and women they’d lost — provided some of the most powerful moments of the entire evening.


And finally … as the coronavirus kept us apart today, let’s look back on a great Westport tradition. Here’s the Staples High School band in 2013, with their rousing Memorial Day “Armed Forces Salute.”