DoorDash launched a new initiative on Thursday called Storefront. They intend for it to help restaurants create websites. Storefront enables restaurant owners to directly manage online pickup and delivery orders.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurants to pause sit-down services. Consequently, more people are now becoming increasingly reliant on delivery platforms like DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats.
These partnerships saddle restaurants with all kinds of commissions and fees. However, they are still necessities, as many lack their own delivery infrastructure or a website to facilitate online ordering.
DoorDash’s goal is to help businesses create their own online stores amid the pandemic. By the company’s estimate, 40 percent of its partners don’t have any online ordering system.
The company says that with Storefront, restaurant owners can create these sites at the click of a button. Restaurants will be able to manage these stores themselves, with orders coming to them directly. Though DoorDash will take a cut, as it will still fulfil delivery requests.
This new initiative is currently in testing and will be “widely available” in July, the company says. The waitlist is now on DoorDash’s website where restaurants can already join.
The company will also waive their fees through the rest of 2020, including fees for setup, subscription, and merchant delivery. This will be for restaurants in the US and Canada with five or fewer locations.
Storefront will be Widely Available in July
Under its Weblinks program, these small businesses also qualify for a new promotion.
Restaurants who’d rather have DoorDash handle their online orders can place a DoorDash button on their website, via some weblinks. This will redirect customers to their platform.
It will waive commission fees on those delivery and pickup orders through the end of the year. Signups are now open to avail of that service.
The goal for Storefront is to help restaurants survive the pandemic crisis. However, it also makes DoorDash an exclusive delivery partner of businesses.
Finally, the company is launching a promotion called Local Restaurant Saturday. It will waive delivery fees on orders from local businesses on the Saturdays in June.
DashPass is DoorDash’s monthly subscription service that waives delivery fees for orders above $12. Its subscribers will also receive 10 percent off pickup orders in June.
This is part of the company’s effort called “Main Street Strong,” to help smaller establishments survive the pandemic. It said, in its blog post, that, as they face the future, the most important thing is to come together. Furthermore, they emphasise helping those restaurants that mean a great deal to their communities.
Of course, its promotions won’t last forever, and the waived fees will presumably return in 2021.
Storefront, a Change of Pace
Earlier this month, a viral pizzeria owner bought his own inventory from DoorDash at a profit, the company’s business model. Like many of those on-demand platforms, it often involves losing huge amounts of cash. This is because of the prices associated with acquiring more participating businesses in the short term.
That’s what makes this initiative look like a smart, but not an exclusively altruistic move. For restaurants dependent on its ecosystem, it now means more profit down the line when commissions kick back in.
Nevertheless, it’s a nice change of pace to see new delivery initiatives like Storefront giving options and agency to restaurants.
Competing services have been under examination in recent years for attempts to load more fees onto their participating partners. This is primarily through exploiting search results and masquerading as the business owners themselves.
The news this month reported on a long-standing policy of Grubhub of putting its own custom phone numbers onto business’s platform pages. This fooled customers into calling Grubhub when they meant to call restaurants directly. It enabled Grubhub to collect a fee for the call.
Last year, the company also came under fire for making fake websites to impersonate restaurants to attract more customer orders.
In January of this year, GrubHub was caught listing restaurants on its platform without their permission.