DoorDash food delivery launches in our area

DoorDash, the leading on-demand food delivery service, has quietly launched in our area — the latest sign of tech-driven food delivery and rideshare expanding into the Sierra Foothills, this blog has learned.

DoorDash lists 36 restaurants near our 95959 zip code, including Big A Rootbeer Drive In, Pete’s Pizza, Cirino’s, Kaido, Tofanelli’s, Diegos, Jernigan’s, Lefty’s, Treats, Friar Tuck’s and others.

We like to eat out at our local restaurants. But we tried DoorDash this weekend, ordering burgers, milk shakes, cole slaw and onion rings from Big A. DoorDasher Eric delivered our lunch within half an hour and said it is being well received. It started about a week ago, he said. We ate our burgers while watching the Giants’ baseball game.

DoorDash is one of a growing number of technology companies that uses the internet (via PCs, tablets and mobile phones) to provide on-demand food delivery.

We’e a small market compared with the big cities that these companies serve, but our retiree population could make it appealing for them. Some people don’t like to drive — or can’t. Others don’t like to cook. It also could provide extra, incremental revenue for our local restaurants.

San Francisco-based DoorDash was founded in 2013 by Stanford students, and its backers include Silicon Valley venture capitalists, such as Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital and others.

Along with DoorDash, our area now is served by Uber for ride sharing and Instacart for grocery delivery.

We’ve regularly used services such as Doordash when we’re staying in big cities or traveling on vacation, as well as the ride share services. Our mobile phones are equipped with DoorDash and Uber apps for out-of-town travel.

“Big A” burgers and shakes at home

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

6 thoughts on “DoorDash food delivery launches in our area”

  1. Well I guess it’s always nice when our small towns get an amenity that we think of as great when available in the big city.

    I am not of fan of the business model though.

    The basic business model is that DoorDash links the restaurant (and eventually more) to the customer through a mobile app using contract labor for drivers.

    They have four revenue channels: 1) the restaurant pays between roughly a 20% in commission on the sale directly to Door Dash.; 2) the customer pays between $5-$8 for delivery (depending on the size of the order); 3) restaurants who want to boost business pay advertising fees to boost their market position on the app and for Door dash to make recommendations; 4) Door Dash sells the small amount of branded equipment you need to its drivers.

    Drivers get paid $1 per delivery plus excess tip. If the DoorDash delivery charge is $8 and the customer gives you $15 you pocket the extra $7. DD guarantees drivers a certain amount of pay per order but if the tip exceeds the guaranteed pay DD keeps all of the delivery charge.

    So let’s say you order $100 in food. DD gets $20 + $8-$1 or $27. (The non-fast food average restaurant profit on $100 in revenue is $10)

    If you read reviews and drivers forums “Dashers” say they average about $6-$18 per hour depending upon the time of day….before expenses. The major expenses are of course gasoline and insurance.

    I hate to be a stick in the mud but this entire “shared economy” “freelance worker” thingy is essentially a platform for disconnecting companies from any responsibility for caring for their workers.

    I’m not sure what we do to address that in the future, or before the peasants begin throwing their sabot into the cogs of the machinery in protest, but labor practices and rules are going to need to change.

  2. Like ridesharing, it’s not “great”; just another option. And to be sure, there are drawbacks to the shared economy that must be addressed, including the freelance worker thingy. Out of curiosity, I discussed this with the driver Eric when he arrived. His eyes were wide open; it’s part-time work for him. He said the locals are better tippers than in Auburn, where he did this before. DoorDash changed its tipping policy last week: https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2019-07-25/doordash-tipping-amazon-flex-drivers I suspect the restaurants will drop out if it doesn’t work for them over the long run. It also can be beneficial for rural elderly who want to live independently when there are fewer options available compared with big cities. Like many families, we’ve been there with our parents. Unlike meal delivery services such as Blue Apron, it also keeps the money local. I don’t think it will ever become a very big business here, but I am willing to give it a chance. I don’t talk it about it much, but once you’ve been a caregiver to the eldery, as we were for many years, your eyes are wide open.

    1. Hm…so I readily acknowledge that this is complicated, and we are not putting the toothpaste back in the tube. New technology has delivered another set of tools that corporations can use to shirk their responsibility to their workers, and we are going to have to figure out how to regulate it.

      But…one cannot compare Blue Apron that delivers unfinished meals to DoorDash. In the cases where delivery does exist through employees “Dashers” who are independent contractors, will take their place. It doesn’t keep that labor money local, it merely replaces one low paid worker with another lower paid worker with no benefits.

      The fact that it took a NYT expose to get DoorDash to change its policy and not the input of their drivers speaks volumes about their values.

      In 30 years 50% of American labor will be independent contractors with no health insurance unless its provided by the state through taxes, no retirement other than social security, who will be responsible for their own workers comp, and with no ability to organize for collective benefit.

      This whole movement is not just some cool hip entrepreneurial new way to create wealth, it takes wealth from workers and cannibalizes more rigid business models like restaurants. And this is just the beginning; as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation progresses it is going to be a mid-level jobs eating machine.

      We better figure that one out or its Viva la Revolución.

  3. Steve, I’m afraid the horse left the barn a long time ago on that one. Like others, I’m all for addressing the issues you have raised, but wouldn’t throw the “whole movement” out with the bathwater. I see the glass as “half full” in terms of figuring it out. DoorDash capitulated for business reasons on the tipping policy: Its customers were PO’ed. Good for the NYT for being a catalyst. Caring for elderly parents, who want to remain independent, helps you see things in perspective. One example: Unfinished meals like Blue Apron and “finished” ones like DoorDash help solve one of the biggest problems. At least Door Dash keeps the money local. The days of “Meals on Wheels” and kind church people delivering meals are behind us; we need to move forward.

  4. This is a a reminder that in capitalism the way business is done is constantly being revolutionized. Government is there to regulate, and make sure that working conditions are protected. This is sometimes hard to do when wealthy interests like Door Dash have the money to influence politics and write laws, while workers are always trying to play keep up. But like Steve said, sometimes it is like putting toothpaste back in the tube. You deal with the situation as it has become, not how it was, or you wish it was.

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