Document

How Does DoorDash Work: Get Food Delivery Fast With This Simple Guide

By: // Updated: September 23, 2020

Home » Delivery » Food

Learn about the most popular food delivery service in the U.S., including where it’s available and how to use it, in the definitive guide to DoorDash.


Disclosure: Ridester.com is supported by our users. We may recieve compensation from the companies whose products we write about, test, or review. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. Please refer to our Affiliate Disclosure for more information.


Food cravings don’t always kick in at convenient times. Whether you’re in the middle of a big project or lounging in pajamas at home, sometimes a meal from your favorite restaurant is the only thing that’s on your mind. With DoorDash, the key to satisfying your cravings — without dropping what you’re doing — is just a few taps away.

Food delivery services are sweeping the nation, with brands like Uber Eats and Postmates becoming household names across the nation. Sitting at the very top of this booming industry is DoorDash, a brand that has expanded from its humble San Francisco beginnings to hundreds of cities around the world.

So how does DoorDash work? By downloading an app, you can search for different types of cuisines or meals from your favorite local restaurant with just a few taps on your smartphone. Once you find something mouthwatering, you can pay right in the app, and track your food as it makes its way to your home.

Here, we’ll show you how to download and use the DoorDash app including how to search for food, place an order, and what to expect when it comes to costs and delivery.


Jump to:


What Is DoorDash?

DoorDash is a food delivery app that enables you to get food from local restaurants and national chains delivered straight to your front door. DoorDash is the leading food delivery company, controlling more market share than rivals Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Postmates.

Headquartered in San Francisco, the service is available in most large cities in the United States, Australia, and Canada. The service is rapidly expanding and is increasingly available in smaller cities. Since the company owns a larger market share, this service is available in areas and neighborhoods where rival food delivery services aren’t an option.

Ordering food with DoorDash is quick and easy. To get food delivered, you’ll need to download the DoorDash app. We’ll show you how to get the app and how to use it in the following step-by-step guide.


Where Is DoorDash Available?

DoorDash currently operates in over 850 cities in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Though its Australian operations are currently only active in major states like Victoria and New South Wales, the platform is available in practically every major U.S. city and about 100 Canadian cities.

To check if DoorDash operates in your exact location, you can enter your address on this food delivery page on DoorDash.com. Then, tap “Find Restaurants.” If the platform is available, you’ll be able to start browsing local businesses and their menus. If not, you’ll get a “Stay Tuned” message instead.

Alternatively, you can scroll down on the food delivery page and tap on the market closest to you. This will open up a list of all the cities serviced in that market.


DoorDash Order Options

While DoorDash is best known as a food delivery company, the company doesn’t just offer delivery services.

The platform allows users to submit “Pickup” orders for some restaurants. When you do so, you’ll be able to relax at home until your order is ready, then head to the restaurant when your meal is ready for pick-up, allowing you to avoid any wait. By eliminating the need for a courier, you can avoid delivery fees and still save yourself some time.

Whether you’re placing a Delivery or Pickup request, DoorDash allows you select any of these order options (as long as your chosen restaurant allows them):

  • Group order: This option allows you to share a unique link with friends who can add items to your cart before you check out. The feature helps you save on delivery fees without passing your phone around or waiting until everyone’s in the same room to order.
  • Scheduled delivery: On the checkout page, you can change your delivery time from “ASAP” to whatever future date and time works for you, as long as your selected restaurant is accepting orders for that time frame. Group orders can only be placed up to four days in advance.
  • DashPass: If you purchase a DashPass subscription for $9.99 per month, free delivery will automatically be applied to eligible orders of $15 or more. Just make sure to look out for a check mark next to your restaurant’s name, which signifies that you can use your DashPass benefits.

How Much Does DoorDash Cost?

The cost of ordering food using DoorDash varies depending on what restaurant you’re ordering from, how far the order has to travel, and extra fees like delivery fees. You may also need to pay a service fee or higher prices when demand is higher.

In addition to the amount you pay for your meal — which follows the restaurant’s pricing — and local taxes, you can expect to pay the following fees when using the delivery app:

  • Delivery fee: This fee varies by restaurant, though it usually starts at $1.99 and rarely exceeds $5.99. However, in times of high demand, this fee may be slightly higher. This fee is waived for all Pickup orders, as well as for DashPass users who place eligible orders.
  • Service fee: This is essentially a convenience fee that helps DoorDash continue to operate and maintain its platform. The service fee is usually around 10% or 11% of your order subtotal.
  • Small order fee: If your order subtotal is under $10 (sometimes even less, depending on your market), you may be charged about $2 for having a small cart.
  • Tip: Though the DoorDash tipping policy doesn’t require you to add gratuity, it’s common courtesy to tip your Dasher at least 15% — more if they do a particularly great job. Dashers depend on tips to make a decent living, just like your standard waiter or bartender.

The largest cost associated with DoorDash is the price of the food items. Menu prices are set by the restaurant and may be higher than what you’d pay if you chose to dine in at the restaurant. That’s because the restaurants have to increase the prices in order to cover the commission that DoorDash takes in order to deliver the food.

You may also pay higher food prices if you order from a restaurant that isn’t partnered with DoorDash. In this case, the DoorDash driver will go into the restaurant and place the order for you. They wait for the food and then bring it to your desired address. When you place an order like this, DoorDash will give you an estimated food item price, but you’ll never pay more than the quoted amount once you complete checkout.

You can find a complete breakdown of your DoorDash cost on the checkout page. This page prominently lists all fees along with the subtotal, taxes, and delivery fee. You can also get a receipt of all your previous orders in the “orders” tab on the app.

Payment Methods

Currently, DoorDash only allows you to pay on its platform with a credit card or debit card. We recommend saving your payment card information in the “Account” section of the platform before you get started with your first order. This makes your ordering process as simple as possible.

However, DoorDash does uniquely partner with some national chains, including Dunkin’ and Chili’s, to allow you to use your restaurant perks on the platform. Eligible loyalty cards can also be saved in the “Account” section of the app or website.


How to Sign Up for DoorDash

To use DoorDash, you’ll need to download the app and create an account. You can download the DoorDash app from the Apple Store if you have an iPhone or from the Google Play Store if you have an Android phone. You can also find links to download the apps on doordash.com.

Once the food delivery app downloads to your phone, you’ll be prompted to create an account. Enter your information including first and last name, phone number, email, and payment information. DoorDash lets you pay for food delivery using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal. You can also redeem gift cards or buy gift cards in the DoorDash app under your account settings. Once your account is all set up, you can start browsing for and ordering food.


How Does DoorDash Work: A Guide to Using the App

Using the DoorDash app is pretty straightforward. The sleek design makes it easy to see a list of restaurants in your area that offer food delivery. You can also use the app to search for specific types of food — like if you’re craving pizza or Chinese food.

We’ve made a step-by-step guide on how to place a DoorDash food delivery order to make things easier. From searching for food options to accepting the delivery, here’s how to order food using the DoorDash app:

  • Select your location: If you have your address saved in your account, the app will default to your home location. If you’re on the road, you can change the location by turning on your location services so the app knows where you are or by entering a new address.
  • Search for food: Use the top icons to search for types of food such as fast food, burgers, Mexican, desserts, or breakfast. You can also scroll through all local restaurants in your area on the home page. Alternatively, you can click the search button and type in the food you’re looking for or the restaurant name.
  • Browse the menu: Once you find a restaurant, you can browse the menu and choose food items. With each selection, you’ll be prompted to customize the order with add-ons, toppings, or flavor choices. Add food items to your cart by tapping the red “add to order” button. On each restaurant screen, you’ll also see the delivery fee amount and the estimated delivery time.
  • View and check your cart: When you’re done making your selections, view the cart and double-check that everything is correct. You can remove items by tapping on the item and selecting remove or add more items if desired.
  • Place order: In the cart, you’ll see the subtotal, estimated taxes and fees, and delivery fee prices. You’ll also be able to enter promotional codes to save money. Don’t have a promo code? Don’t worry, we have a list of the best DoorDash promo codes right here. Choose your payment method and double-check the delivery address before completing the checkout.
  • Track your food delivery: After you complete the order, you’ll be able to track the food on a map as the delivery driver — also known as a Dasher — brings it to your front door. You’ll be notified in real-time if there are any delays or changes to the wait time. You’ll also get a notification when the delivery person is pulling up.
  • Leave a tip and enjoy: DoorDash drivers work part-time or full-time and customer tips can help cover their expenses. Leave the driver a tip using the app – here’s a guide on how much to tip Dashers — if you think they did a great job. Unwrap your food and enjoy your meal.

DoorDash Customer Service

If you’re ever stuck in the DoorDash ordering process or need any other assistance with the platform, DoorDash customer service is available on multiple channels to help you out.

Customers can easily head to this support page to start a live chat for time-sensitive issues. Alternatively, they can tap the “Email” option on this same page to fill in a contact form and get their questions resolved via email, usually within a business day or two.

DoorDash customers can also try contacting the company through this phone number: (855) 973-1040.

And if you have a fairly common question or want to try resolving an issue on your own, you can always go to this customer help page to avoid waiting for a response. This help page can answer questions about anything from ordering on DoorDash to resolving account and payment issues.


Frequently Asked Questions

Joining DoorDash allows you to gain immediate access to hundreds of restaurants, right at your fingertips. Read our answers to these common questions to learn more about how you can navigate and use the food delivery app.

1. Does DoorDash have a referral program for customers?

DoorDash has a great friends and family referral program that allows existing users to earn $10 when a new user signs up with their referral link and places their first order. Your friend will get $5 off each of their first three orders (for a total of $15 in savings) upon sign-up.

Existing users can find their unique referral links when they log in and head to doordash.com/consumer/invite.

DoorDash does limit referral bonuses to the first 25 users you invite, as the company wants to prevent users from sharing their codes on public coupon sites and spamming potential customers.

2. Does DoorDash Take Cash?

DoorDash doesn’t deal in cash transactions with customers or drivers. Customers can only pay online through the app. The only use for cash is when you want to tip your driver in person.

3. Should I tip my DoorDash driver?

You can tip your dasher in two ways. One way to do it is by using the app and transferring funds upon the completion of the delivery. You can also tip your dasher with cash in person.

4. Do DoorDash Drivers See Your Tip?

DoorDash dashers don’t see individual tips received through the app. They only see the total amount in tips received after their shift has ended.

5. How do I cancel a DoorDash order?

You can only cancel your order on DoorDash before the restaurant starts cooking your food. In order to do this, you should log on to the order status page. If you are not too late, the order can be canceled, and your money will be refunded.

You cannot cancel your order while the delivery is in process. If the dasher is en route to the restaurant you can only change some delivery instructions or your delivery address. However, you cannot cancel the order and receive a refund at that point.

6. How do I use DoorDash referral credits?

DoorDash credits are earned by referring your friends to join and use the app. The money you earn from this is given to you in the form of credits. The credits cannot be exchanged for money or free orders, but they can be used to purchase promotional codes for discounts. To access your credits and view their expiration date, you need to visit your account page.

7. How does Caviar compare to DoorDash?

Caviar, a food delivery service owned by DoorDash, focuses on more upscale dining and locally owned restaurants, so you won’t see any fast food chains on the platform. You can also expect slightly higher prices from Caviar, which serves fewer markets.

8. Can I delete my DoorDash account at any time?

Absolutely. If DoorDash isn’t working out for you, you can fill out the contact form on their website with your name, the contact information linked to your account, and your deactivation request. Make sure to select “Account Settings” as your category and “Deactivate DoorDash Account” as your subcategory.


Feed Yourself Without the Hassle

The rise of the gig economy means that slaving away cooking a meal is a thing of the past. Business models like DoorDash have put a new spin on takeout. You don’t even have to put on real clothes or hop in your car to get a freshly cooked meal anymore.

DoorDash is a food delivery startup that brings food from local restaurants to your home or office. The on-demand delivery service means you’ll wait only minutes to get your food instead of waiting hours to get food from Amazon and Instacart or having to go to the grocery store. A delivery person will simply drop off your food order and you can get on to more important things.

If you’re looking into getting food delivered at home, you have lots of options. From Caviar to Amazon Restaurants and Amazon Fresh, there are loads of food delivery service companies that can make meal planning simpler. If you’re trying to find the best food delivery service and wondering how DoorDash compares, check out our guides on DoorDash vs. Grubhub and Postmates vs. DoorDash to find what works best for you.

Leave a Comment