UberEats and Skip the Dishes now have a formidable third competitor vying for third-party food-delivery service in Winnipeg. San Francisco-based DoorDash — the largest such service in the United States — launches in the city Wednesday, bringing 300 local restaurants to the fingertips of hungry customers.
"We’re pretty excited. This is our 50th city in Canada and we’re planning to launch our 100th in Canada by the end of the year," said Brent Seals, DoorDash country director for Canada.
Seals said DoorDash is confident it can elbow its way into the industry despite the presence of Winnipeg-based Skip the Dishes and fellow San Francisco rival UberEats.
"We think so, we’re just really focused on the service we’re able to provide," he said.
DoorDash will launch with a 30-in-30 promotion, where customers in the first 30 days whose orders take longer than 30 minutes will receive a refund up to $30. As well, customers in their first 30 days as DoorDash customers will receive free delivery on orders above $10.
Restaurants on the DoorDash menu include King+Bannatyne, Nuburger, Boon Burger and 297 others, Seals said. A customer will see a list of available restaurants after entering a delivery address, and then will see only those restaurants within a certain geographic distance.
DoorDash also offers Dash Pass, a monthly subscription service where, for $9.99 a month, customers get unlimited free delivery on orders more than $15.
As with Skip and UberEats, users can access an app, available through the Apple Store or Google Play, or the website, doordash.com.
Is there room in the market for a third entrant in the third-party delivery game? Shaun Jeffrey, executive director of the Manitoba Restaurant and Food Services Association thinks so.
"Obviously, with the success of Skip the Dishes here and their share of the market, they’re doing something right," he said. "The reality is all third-party services in general have their faults and benefits, and those really don’t change with the player."
He said each of the three delivery services offer their own niche, and he said for restaurants, being available on as many platforms as possible is an advantage.
"They’re the biggest U.S. player, so I’m sure they did their due diligence looking at our market," Jeffrey said. "There are two players, one is really monopolizing, so obviously they felt it was acceptable to (enter the Winnipeg market)."
Still, Jeffrey said third-party services such as Skip and DoorDash mean restaurants are selling their food at a discount — depending on the commission — and statistics suggest approximately two-thirds of delivery customers would have otherwise eaten in-restaurant or taken out directly, with the full price going into the restaurant’s till.
"It really depends on the establishment. If it’s a restaurant known for delivery, then it’s one thing, but if not, then it’s just transferring revenue that’s in the restaurant to out of the restaurant (to the delivery company)," he said.
In addition to delivery fees charged customers, services such as DoorDash and Skip charge a commission to the restaurant, which according to numerous online sources, runs about 20 per cent.
As with Skip and UberEats, DoorDash drivers, called "Dashers," are independent contractors paid per delivery. Drivers pay for their own gas and vehicle insurance and swallow the wear and tear on their vehicles themselves. A DoorDash spokeswoman would not say how many drivers are signed up, only that the company is actively recruiting new drivers.
Brian Smiley, spokesman for Manitoba Public Insurance, said drivers for any delivery service need to have their vehicles insured as commercial vehicles, adding it’s possible MPI could deny coverage if a collision were to occur.
"Would we deny coverage? We could, but typically, the driver simply pays the difference between the premium he paid and what he should have paid," Smiley said. "I couldn’t give you a dollar figure, but the difference in premium is pretty minimal."
Jeffrey said despite the popularity of third-party delivery services, his members want one message to be loud and clear.
"Our quote on this will always be: We want you to experience food the best way possible, and the best way is fresh and in a restaurant.
"If it suits you to order a delivery product, perfect. But doing it to expect the same quality as when you went to a restaurant, that’s not going to happen."
DoorDash was founded in 2013 by Stanford University students Tony Xu, Andy Fang, Stanley Tang and Evan Moore as a tiny startup called PaloAltoDelivery.com. By 2019, it had grown to surpass what had been the largest, GrubHub.
Copy Editor, Autos Reporter
Kelly Taylor is a Winnipeg Free Press copy editor and award-winning automotive journalist. He's been a member of the Automobile Journalists' Association of Canada since 2001.
Updated on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 11:06 AM CDT: Clarifies, based on subsequent verification, claim of DoorDash being largest in U.S. Minor edits.