DoorDash launched a new initiative called Storefront on Thursday to help restaurants create websites and manage online pickup and delivery orders directly.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced restaurants to drop their seat service, many are increasingly relying on delivery platforms such as DoorDash and competitors Grubhub, Postmates and Uber Eats. These partnerships naturally offer restaurants with all kinds of commissions and fees, but for many who lack their own delivery infrastructure or website to facilitate online ordering, they are still necessary.
DoorDash's goal is to help companies create their own online shops instead. The company estimates that 40 percent of DoorDash partners do not have an online ordering system. With DoorDash Storefront, restaurant owners can create these websites “at the push of a button”. Restaurants manage these stores themselves, with orders placed directly with them (although DoorDash continues to respond to delivery requests and cut prices).
DoorDash Storefront is currently being tested and will be "widespread" in July, the company said. Restaurants can now join the waiting list on the DoorDash website. The company will also waive a number of fees for restaurants in the United States and Canada with five or fewer locations by the end of 2020 – including setup, subscription, and delivery fees to retailers.
These small businesses also qualify for a new promotion as part of the DoorDash web links program. Using web links, restaurants that prefer to process their online orders with DoorDash can place a DoorDash button on their website and redirect customers to the platform. DoorDash will waive commission fees for these delivery and collection orders until the end of 2020. Registrations for this service are now open.
Finally, DoorDash starts a campaign called Local Restaurant Saturday, which does not charge delivery fees for orders from local companies on Saturdays in June. DashPass subscribers, DoorDash's monthly subscription service that waives delivery fees for orders over $ 12, will also receive a 10 percent discount on pickup orders in June.
DoorDash storefront will be widespread in July
DoorDash says it intends to take these actions as part of what it calls "Main Street Strong" to help smaller organizations survive the pandemic. "When we face the future, the most important thing is to get together to help the restaurants that mean so much to our communities," DoorDash's blog post said.
Of course, DoorDash's promotions won't last forever, and fees waived are expected to return in 2021. As a viral pizzeria owner demonstrated earlier this month when he bought his own inventory for a profit from DoorDash, the company's business model – like that of many on-demand platforms – is often about losing large amounts of cash, to acquire more participating companies in the short term. That is why this initiative looks like a smart, but not exclusively altruistic step for the company: More restaurants that depend on their ecosystem now mean more profit when commissions rise again.
Still, it's a nice change to see new delivery initiatives that offer restaurants options and freedom of choice. Competing services have been screened in recent years for attempts to charge more fees to their participating partners, primarily through the use of search results and masking as a business owner.
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News highlighted a long-standing grubhub policy that places its own custom phone numbers on the company's platform pages to get customers to call grubhub when they want to call restaurants directly (and to give grubhub the option of one) Charge for the call). Last year, the company also came under fire for creating fake websites to pretend to be restaurants to capture more customer orders. Back in January, GrubHub was caught listing restaurants on their platform without their permission.