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Opinion
Alex Webb

What Does Uber Love More: Restaurants or Investors?

Eateries are getting squeezed by delivery apps. Uber could give up profit to keep them happy, but that's not what IPO investors want to hear.

It’s hard to be happy when your profits drive away.

It’s hard to be happy when your profits drive away.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

London restaurateurs call them “helmet heads”: the food delivery couriers who congregate in eatery doorways as they await an order, their moped or bicycle perched on the adjacent curb.

In the U.S. they work for Uber Technologies Inc., GrubHub or Postmates. The U.K. has Deliveroo as well as Uber Eats; Germany has Foodora. Each firm increases tension in the restaurant industry, because the rise of app-based meal ordering is exerting substantial pressure on venues’ bottom line.