Ride-sharing giant Uber finally has some good news. Uber has reportedly made operating profit for the first time in the company’s history, fueled by a post-pandemic demand for rides and a seemingly successful push toward food delivery.
The news was shared by Bloomberg with Uber announcing in a quarterly earnings call for Q2 2023 an operating profit, a number that has never been in the black for the company, of $326 million with a free cash flow of $1.14 billion. The outlet reports that ridership is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels in the U.S. and Canada and that Uber is witnessing an unprecedented demand for food delivery through Uber Eats amidst a hyper-inflated economy that sees companies raising food and drink prices willy-nilly. Uber also claimed that the number of drivers was up 33% this past quarter year-over-year while the number of trips has gone up 26% in the same time frame.
“Both of these milestones were achieved through a combination of disciplined execution, record audience, and strong engagement,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement, as quoted by Bloomberg. He also said Uber was “well-positioned to sustain strong, incremental profit generation.”
Khosrowshahi took the role of CEO at Uber in August 2017 and since then, his vision for Uber was to be the Amazon of transportation. While the platform has cornered the market on ride-sharing and delivery, in May, Uber announced that a long-awaited feature—flight booking—would be rolling out to users in the UK. But Uber’s first-ever operating profit is not solely the brainchild of Khosrowshahi’s business acumen. In an interview with Wired, Khosrowshahi tried to shed light on the discussion surrounding Uber’s seemingly random surge pricing and rising rates, which Forbes reports are actually rising four times faster than the rate of inflation in some cases.
“Everything is more expensive. Inflation has become a part of our everyday life. With Uber, the vast majority of your fare is going to your driver. Earnings per week for our drivers are up 40, 50 percent over the past four years, because that is the cost of time and the cost of labor,” he said. “So while prices are higher, people are finding our services more compelling. It certainly hasn’t hurt the business.”
Uber has wiggled its way into the fabric of our daily lives for better or for worse, and now that it’s profitable, it’ll be harder than ever to get rid of it.