Here’s how it works: DoorDash and Caviar users will see a “Nationwide Shipping” carousel in their apps. Once they click through, they can select what they want from participating restaurants. They can then place an order to be delivered as soon as possible — about 1-2 days after the restaurant sends it out. DoorDash estimates that it’ll take about two to four days for shipments to arrive. They can also opt to have the item delivered sometime in the next three months, in time for a holiday or other special occasion.
DoorDash covers the delivery fee, so customers don’t have to pay for delivery.
The company sees an opportunity in nationwide shipping as another service to offer its restaurant customers.
“Our strategy has been to go deeper with the restaurants,” DoorDash president Christopher Payne told CNN Business. DoorDash also sees the move as a way to be “more engaging for the consumer,” he said.
The move comes at a time when the delivery space is getting more crowded, with upstarts trying to edge in as big players such as Uber Eats, DoorDash and Seamless expand their offerings. But these delivery services come with some controversy. Restaurants have complained the commission fees are too high. Some cities have capped those fees — prompting companies including DoorDash to sue. With nationwide shipping, DoorDash is following a similar model and taking a cut per order, so it’s not clear how many restaurants will want to opt in.
So far, close to 100 businesses, including restaurants, florists and other gift sellers, are part of the program today, according to DoorDash. On the list, in addition to New York City’s Carbone and Katz’s, are Big Shake’s Nashville Hot Chicken, which has locations in Tennessee and Alabama, Los Angeles’ Chocolate and the Chip, Xiao Chi Jie in Bellevue, Washington, and H&H Bagels, also in New York.
In recent years, DoorDash has been branching out from its main business of delivering meals locally with other products for restaurant customers, such as Storefront, a commission-free system that lets consumers order directly from restaurants. It is selling ads on its platform and launching ghost kitchens where it makes meals for restaurants. It’s also offering more options within its core delivery service, some with lower commission fees.
For restaurants with national recognition, national shipping was a helpful source of sales earlier in the pandemic, especially when dining rooms were closed and many people were stuck at home. Goldbelly, a national shipping platform for restaurants which launched eight years ago, saw orders surge last year.
DoorDash’s service is rolling out with businesses that already have nationwide shipping options, said Payne. But some are offering certain items exclusively to DoorDash customers. Carbone, for example, is selling a kit with dried pasta, sauces, recipe cards, an apron and cooking demo by Mario Carbone only to customers of Caviar, a food delivery service owned by DoorDash. And Big Shake’s Hot Chicken is selling deep-fried turkeys as an exclusive.
For them, selling through DoorDash provides “access to more customers [and] different customers,” from ones they’d be able to reach through their own or smaller platforms, he said. Plus, partnering with DoorDash won’t preclude them from continuing to offer national shipping directly or with competitors like Goldbelly.
Eventually, DoorDash hopes to bring more restaurants on board, according to Payne.
“The goal here over time will be to have the thousands and thousands of restaurants that can ship anywhere across the United States,” he said.
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