Restaurants have always been the places we go to celebrate, spend time with family and friends, and just relax. But, as a result of this pandemic, far too many of our beloved spots have closed their doors, some for good. Those that remain open have had to transform the way they do business, turning to takeout and delivery as a lifeline. That’s why we believe it’s more important than ever that restaurants that cannot or choose not to handle delivery in-house be able to partner with third-party delivery platforms like DoorDash, so the restaurants we love can once again be the centerpieces of our communities.
Over the past two months, DoorDash led the way by reducing the fees restaurants pay to offer delivery and advertise, with a special focus on helping mom-and-pop restaurants. In total, DoorDash provided $120 million in relief to restaurants since the start of the pandemic. Recognizing that delivery is a necessity, not a convenience, DoorDash has also invested millions of dollars to lower fees for consumers, keeping restaurants busy and helping make delicious meals accessible to all. In fact, restaurants on DoorDash are four times more likely to have remained open during the pandemic compared with U.S. restaurants as a whole.
The pandemic has increased the importance of having an online presence, yet an estimated 40% of DoorDash’s partners don’t have an online ordering system today. Through DoorDash’s Main Street Strong initiative, restaurants that have never had online ordering will be able to create a system at the touch of a button. This new product offering — called Storefront — gives restaurants a way to offer takeout and delivery to their customers without having to pay a commission. In fact, through the rest of the year, mom-and-pop restaurants will pay no fees for their Storefront.
Finally, it is no secret that rent is one of the single largest costs for restaurants and that restaurants have unfortunately had to let many of their cherished employees go. That’s why it is so important that Congress fixed the Paycheck Protection Act to work better for restaurants, and why we’re calling on Congress to act urgently to create a stabilization fund for restaurants.
Surprisingly, many restaurants that would like to offer their own delivery have struggled to recruit workers to come back. That’s why the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association and DoorDash are proud to announce an innovative new program that will help restaurants promote their open positions to the thousands of people who work on DoorDash. Restaurants can let the NJRHA know that they need help identifying workers, and DoorDash will advertise those opportunities to Dashers.
At the same time, we know that many restaurant workers have been laid off during this crisis, which is why DoorDash established a priority access program to help restaurant workers earn income on their own schedules until their restaurants hopefully reopen.
Under NJRHA’s leadership, Gov. Phil Murphy allowed restaurants to open June 15 for outdoor seating. These guidelines came after a push by the NJRHA, which started the #OpenOutsideDining campaign, asking people to tweet, email, call and Instagram message the governor urging him to lift the ban on outdoor dining. We look forward to continuing to work together and with elected officials to help restaurants weather this crisis.
But, outdoor dining alone won’t allow restaurants to flourish. That’s where collaboration between DoorDash and NJRHA is so important. Working together, we will help restaurants increase their revenue and satisfy customers’ desire to enjoy their favorite locales’ best dining offerings.
John Horton is head of community engagement for DoorDash.