DoorDash unveiled a new program, dubbed Storefront, on Thursday to help restaurants create websites and handle online pickup and distribution orders directly.
When the COVID-19 pandemic caused restaurants to suspend their sit-down operation, others became more and more focused on delivery services such as DoorDash, as well as Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats rivals. Of example, these agreements load restaurants with all sorts of incentives and fees, but for those that lack their own distribution system or a website to promote electronic transactions, they are nevertheless necessities.
DoorDash’s goal is to help businesses create their own online stores instead; according to the company’s estimate, 40 percent of DoorDash’s partners have no online ordering system. With DoorDash Storefront, the organization promises restaurant owners will build these pages “with the click of a button.” Restaurants can run such stores themselves; with orders going straight to them (although DoorDash will also meet distributions demands and take a cut).
The organization will also suspend a variety of fees for restaurants in the U.S. and Canada with five or fewer outlets for the remainder of 2020—including charges for configuration, installation, and retailer distribution.
Such small companies also qualify under DoorDash’s Weblinks scheme, for a new promotion. Restaurants that prefer DoorDash to handle their online orders can place a DoorDash button on their website through Weblinks and redirect customers to the platform. DoorDash will cancel payment payments on these shipping and pick-up orders until the end of 2020; sign-ups are now available for this service.
Finally, DoorDash is launching a promotion called Local Restaurant Saturday, which will waive delivery fees on Saturdays in June on orders from local businesses. DashPass customers, the paid DoorDash membership package that waives shipping charges on orders above $12, can also get 10 percent off collection orders in June. DoorDash says it aims for such campaigns to help smaller businesses escape the pandemic, part of an initiative it calls “Main Street Heavy.” “When we look to the future, the most important thing is to come together to help the restaurants that mean so much to our communities,” reads the blog post on DoorDash.
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News exposed Grubhub’s long-standing strategy of placing its own personalized phone numbers on the website pages of companies, fooling users into calling Grubhub when they wanted to contact restaurants directly (and encouraging Grubhub to receive a contract fee).
DoorDash discounts do not continue indefinitely, of course, and the suspended payments are expected to resume in 2021. As a viral pizzeria owner demonstrated earlier this month when he bought his own DoorDash product at a profit, the business strategy of the organization – like that of other on-demand sites – frequently entails risking large sums of cash to gain more participating companies in the short term. That’s what makes this effort sound like a good decision for the business, but not strictly altruistic: more restaurants relying on their environment now means more benefit down the road as commissions kick back in.
Nevertheless, seeing new delivery initiatives that offer restaurant options and agency is a pleasant change of pace. In recent years, competitive companies have experienced criticism in efforts to demand higher commissions to their participant customers, largely by manipulating search results and masquerading themselves as company owners.