Supporting Local Restaurants and Neighborhoods in Uncertain Times

Hot bag handoff. Merchant dasher.
Hot bag handoff. Merchant dasher.
Door Dash
Hot bag handoff. Merchant dasher.

Supporting Local Restaurants and Neighborhoods in Uncertain Times

The Main Street Strong Initiative from DoorDash Bolsters Independent Restaurants and Local Communities
October 19, 2020

DoorDash believes that independent and local restaurants are the backbone of local economies and invaluable hubs of community. And during these unpredictable times, supporting the industry and communities is more important than ever.

This commitment to communities led us, in 2018, to expand our efforts beyond restaurants and launch Project DASH (DoorDash Acts for Sustainability and Hunger). This initiative uses the company’s logistics platform to tackle the problems of hunger and food waste. Project DASH’s efforts include 1:1 meal donations to families in need, bringing surplus food to local food banks, and partnering with local nonprofits and government agencies to ensure vulnerable communities have access to food delivery.

These commitments positioned DoorDash to immediately act when the reality of COVID-19 hit in March, and businesses and schools in New York and across the country were forced to shut down their operations. On a community level, we expanded the scope of Project DASH by partnering with the New York City Department of Education to deliver meals to more than 800 students who were unable to get their meals in person due to limited mobility or compromised immune systems. In the first half of 2020 alone, Project DASH provided over 330,000 meals to New Yorkers in need.

As their restaurant partners began rethinking their entire approach to preparing, cooking, and getting food to their customers, DoorDash created the Main Street Strong relief program, a series of initiatives designed to help independent restaurants stay open during the pandemic by increasing sales, decreasing and optimizing operating costs, and providing commission-free services.

In the early days of the pandemic, restaurant owners, managers and operators in New York City found many creative ways to adapt. Inspired by the astonishing flexibility and resilience of their New York City partners, DoorDash decided to create Restaurant Appreciation Week as a way to give back.

New York’s Restaurant Appreciation Week runs from October 19 to October 25. During this week, local Manhattan restaurants partnered with DoorDash will be able to order free health and safety kits with masks, gloves, floor decals to establish social distancing, and other items. These winter starter kits will help keep staff and customers safe and lower overhead costs.

DoorDash will also donate $1 from all local orders in Manhattan that week—up to $100,000 total—to ROAR, a New York relief and advocacy organization which focuses on supporting the city’s restaurant workers.

As the pandemic lingers, restaurants across the country are facing a new challenge: the winter months. As temperatures drop and the days get shorter, restaurants that have adapted their dine-in operations to accommodate outdoor eating must now consider how to accommodate their customers’ needs and keep their kitchens busy throughout the winter months.

In order to support our restaurant partners during these unpredictable times, DoorDash has launched the next phase of Main Street Strong, which includes grants, customer promotions, and commission-free ordering.

DoorDash has allocated $2 million in grants specifically for local restaurants with three or fewer locations that need to adapt their operations for the colder weather. Available in six cities— New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, San Jose, and San Francisco—grant applications open on October 16 and will be administered via Hello Alice. Eligible restaurants could receive grants of up to $5,000, which can be directed toward cold weather adaptations such as buying heating equipment like heat lamps and tenting, additional PPE for increased indoor dining, and more.

In an effort to solidify and increase sales for restaurant partners, DoorDash will be launching a nationwide “Winter Wednesday” promotion starting in December. As part of that promotion, local restaurants will have $0 delivery fees on Wednesdays, while DashPass customers will receive other discounts.

Another Main Street Strong offering are commission-free partnership options for eligible local restaurants through Storefront, an online pickup and delivery service that operates directly from a restaurant’s website. As long as Storefront accounts are set up by December 31, 2020, eligible restaurants will receive zero-commission pricing through March 31, 2021.

In addition to Main Street Strong, DoorDash’s COVID relief efforts have saved restaurants more than $120 million dollars. In a new economic report from research and consulting firm Technomic, restaurants were asked to share how they had put the saved money to use. Nearly half (43%) of restaurants said the extra money had enabled them to stay in business. They also used the funds to invest in repairs or remodeling, pay bills for food, supplies and utilities, make rent or mortgage payments, retain staff, and even hire additional staff.

The same report found that despite the significant financial implications of a global pandemic, nearly two-thirds of restaurants increased their profits during COVID-19 thanks to DoorDash.

Overall, 86% of DoorDash customers say that DoorDash has helped them or their family access food during the COVID-19 pandemic. With thousands of places available to order from in New York City, DoorDash will continue to connect local restaurants with the people they serve.

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