'Unprecedented situation:' DoorDash waives fees for restaurants, hires restaurant staff as Dashers

MILWAUKEE -- Food delivery company DoorDash is waiving fees for restaurants, hiring out-of-work waiters, and delivering food to the needy as the new coronavirus radically changes the restaurant industry.

The San Francisco company will allow independent restaurants to sign up for its delivery service for free through the end of April.

Tony Xu, CEO and co-founder of DoorDash issued the below information in a news release on Tuesday, March 17:

Today, we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation, one that requires all of us to take measures above and beyond what we previously could have imagined. What I have witnessed over the past couple of weeks has been nothing less than extraordinary. It has been humbling to watch DoorDash merchants, customers, and Dashers come together to support each other. I want to share an update with you about our continued efforts to make sure that everyone in our communities is well fed and well cared for.

We’re Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Our Community

Over the past few days, as cities and states have restricted the operations of restaurants and other businesses, we have heard mayors and governors call upon residents to use delivery and pick-up services to reduce person-to-person contact. The U.S. FDA has stated that there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19, but we remain vigilant in our actions to promote health and safety on our platform and to support Dashers.*

To ensure that drivers who are sick can focus on recovering, we are providing financial assistance to eligible Dashers and Caviar couriers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined. We are in the process of shipping more than 1 million sets offree hand sanitizer and gloves to Dashers. And we are consulting with public health officials and working with restaurants to enhance their food preparation protocols.

Starting this week, we're changing the default delivery method to a no-contact option to minimize contact between Dashers and customers. With this update, “Leave it at my door” will be the default drop-off option, and customers will have the choice to select “Hand it to me” if they prefer. We have also advised Dashers that they may initiate a no-contact delivery at any time by reaching out to the customer with a call or text message to confirm.

We’re Supporting Local Businesses in a Time of Need

Around the globe, the restaurants that form the backbone of our communities are being asked to change how they operate. From limiting their occupancy to closing their doors to dining guests, these businesses are facing the prospect of lost sales, making it harder for them to meet their daily expenses. Yet these restaurants continue to serve their customers by remaining open for delivery and pick-up, and now, more than ever, they need all of our support.

That is why we’re announcing a package of commission relief and marketing support for new and existing DoorDash partner restaurants to help them generate up to $200 million in additional sales this year:

    We also know that many restaurant workers are finding themselves with fewer hours -- hours they need to support themselves and their families. So we are creating a priority access program to help these workers sign up as Dashers and begin making deliveries safely, enabling them to meet their financial needs until their jobs return to normal.

    We’re Serving Communities in Need

    As the spread of COVID-19 continues, some of the most vulnerable people within the communities we serve are at risk. We are joining forces with community organizations to deliver an estimated one million pounds of groceries and prepared food. Through our national partner, United Way Worldwide, we will power deliveries from local agencies to food-insecure households, serving seniors, low-income families, and mobility-impaired individuals across the U.S. We are also supporting local institutions including the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, Fresher Sacramento, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

    We stand ready to help other organizations that need last-mile delivery support, and we invite them to connect with us by visiting our intake site.

    We're in this together, and as the situation evolves, we’ll continue to do everything we can to serve our community. The entire DoorDash team thanks you for your support, and we will continue to keep you informed as we take additional action.

    * U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Can I get COVID-19 from a food worker handling my food,” https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-issues/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions#food.

    **This blog post shares how we will support our community of Dashers, consumers, and merchants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given that circumstances are rapidly changing, we may iterate on or modify our approach, including the type, amount, criteria, and duration of aid, as conditions change.