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How Does DoorDash Work for Customers?

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DoorDash is a food delivery service company in the business of connection.

It’s an online app intended to connect the brilliant local businesses whose excellent work can benefit from broader visibility to the people of their cities with little time, a need for good food, and a limited budget.

In this article, we’ll cover how DoorDash works, cover basic questions, and show you how to get started with DoorDashing!

Let’s begin.

What Is DoorDash?

DoorDash is a straightforward, streamlined food ordering platform that allows hungry consumers to access some of the best restaurants in their city, regardless of how far away they are.

DoorDash is available to anyone with a smartphone or computer in most of North America – the United States and Canada – and Australia and Japan.

Using DoorDash, customers in Brooklyn can connect to their favorite restaurant in Manhattan without taking the subway there and back.

DoorDash styles itself as a solution to the modern problems of too little time and too much work.

The guiding ethos is, “life may be busy, but you’ve still got to eat well.”

Using DoorDash, you can support local businesses while supporting a healthy body and therefore a healthy mind.

How Does DoorDash Work for Customers?

vector graphic showing illustration that explains "how does doordash work"

DoorDash delivers food from restaurants to people’s homes.

Customers of DoorDash agree to pay a nominal delivery fee in exchange for a DoorDash delivery person to bring food to the customer’s home.

Optionally, customers can add a tip to their DoorDash order, a way to thank the delivery person for coming all the way out to the home and delivering the food.

The tip can be given to the delivery person in person via cash or submitted via electronic payment on the app.

If you prefer to skip the line, there is also DoorDash Pickup, a service in which customers can order ahead and, without any fees, stop by the restaurant and take their prepared food.

Key Features

What makes DoorDash successful? Here are some of the key features that allow it to stand apart from the madding crowd.


DoorDash is extremely convenient.

This fact is at the heart of the company’s success.

In today’s fast-paced city environment, most professionals no longer have time to take long lunch breaks where they go to their favorite restaurant and sit around chatting.

Now, certain lunch breaks may be confined to 30 minutes, and the luxury of picking your favorite sit-down restaurant is lost.

For those of us who don’t have time to pack our lunches and don’t want to eat junky fast food all the time, DoorDash offers a brilliant alternative.

Seamless Experience

Users of DoorDash don’t just love the convenience.

There are plenty of applications that allow customers to order food to their place of work or residence.

DoorDash is different because of the seamless experience of the app and the website.

Don’t take our word for it.

Check out the front page of the DoorDash website.

Even at first glance, you can see everything you might want to see, with the most important thing being front and center: A search bar to enter your address for delivery.

It takes seconds to learn how to use DoorDash, and you don’t need a complicated instruction manual.

Simply visit the website or download the app for Android on Google Play or the App Store for IOS, or wherever you get your apps and get started.

DoorDash also makes it extremely easy to pay: you can connect any major card to the app, and it will remember your payment details for future purchases (unless, of course, you don’t want it to).

Live Tracking

DoorDash allows you to live track your order.

The DoorDash delivery person (AKA Dasher) has their mobile phone with them because they use the DoorDash app to accept delivery orders.

If a Dasher has accepted your order, you can track your order via a live-updating map under the “orders” tab of the DoorDash app.

If your Dasher has not yet accepted your order, you can still track the process of your order-in-progress, all through the handy tabs found in the app.

How Does DoorDash Work For Restaurants?

a DoorDash merchant standing outside his store while DoorDash delivery drivers come and go

Restaurants pay DoorDash to execute orders for them.

This is sometimes loosely referred to as the DoorDash Merchant program.

DoorDash is the middleman between restaurants and paying customers; DoorDash takes a small commission off every order placed via its application.

The DoorDash business model is based on a series of tiered fees, both for restaurants and customers.

As of April 2021, restaurants have three possible options for partnering with DoorDash.

The first is a 15% commission where more of the cost is transferred to the customer.

The second is a 25% commission where the restaurant joins DoorDash’s subscription program and gains better visibility in the app.

The third is a 30% commission, in which the restaurant gets the widest possible area of service.

How Much Does DoorDash Cost?

The cost of DoorDash is the price of the food you are planning to order, as well as the DoorDash fees and whatever tips you decide to add to your order.

Many restaurants have the same prices for the pickup via DoorDash as they do on the in-person menu, but other restaurants choose to make their DoorDash pickup prices more expensive.

DoorDash reports, however, that restaurants whose DoorDash Pickup prices and in-store prices are the same have a much better success rate.

vector graphic showing how much does doordash pay and the components that go into the pricing

Fees Incurred While Using DoorDash

Customers pay a delivery fee, a service fee, and typically customers also pay a tip.

The service fee that customers will pay varies from restaurant to restaurant, while the delivery fee depends on the distance.

In some regions, it is possible to join DashPass, which is DoorDash’s subscription program.

With DashPass, you pay $0 in delivery fees and for orders of $12 or more, service fees are significantly reduced.

As far as tipping goes, a tip of 20% or higher is recommended.

Is There a Monthly Fee for Using DoorDash?

There is no monthly fee associated with a basic DoorDash account.

However, if you want to bring your delivery fees down to zero, you can sign up with DashPass.

DashPass is a subscription service currently running at $9.99 a month with no commitment—you can cancel DashPass at any time.

Are You Supposed to Tip on DoorDash?

The way that the Dashers make money on DoorDash is through their delivery fees and tips from customers.

If you can afford to, it’s always a generous gesture to give a tip.

Whether being a Dasher is one of many side hustle gigs or full-time work, for many Dashers receiving tips is the only way they can make being a Dasher sustainable.

Can Dashers See Your Tip?

If you choose to place a tip on the app before it’s delivered, Dashers can see the tip you’ve given them and the earnings they’ve made.

That being said, you can also tip them in person or tip them after the delivery goes through.

There are some good cases to be made about tipping in person, as, for example, if you’re very satisfied with the speed of delivery, you can give more of a tip.

Example DoorDash Order Price

Let’s look at a case study of a potential DoorDash Order Price.

You work from home in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

You heard about the new smoked brisket bowl from Chipotle, but you don’t have time to stop at Chipotle because you’ve got a meeting with an important client.

Let’s see what this order looks like.

Because it’s your first time using DoorDash, the delivery fee is free.

You choose your Chipotle bowl and add guacamole.

  • The total is $16.30.
  • The service fee is $1.00, which  includes tax and a small service fee.

All things considered, your order costs $17.30.

Now, imagine the fact that in New York, you’d probably have to take a subway to get to your friendly neighborhood Chipotle anyway.

A ride on the subway costs a little more than $2.00.

That, plus the time you require to get out to Chipotle, makes DoorDash well worth the extra cost for many people.

Why Is Food More Expensive on DoorDash?

Food is more expensive in many situations on DoorDash because there are a lot of extra people who are brought in than when customers are simply walking into a restaurant.

Using DoorDash, you’re using a third party that is also using a delivery person.

In short, DoorDash can be more expensive than ordering food in person because you’re paying for the convenience that DoorDash has made available for you.

How to Sign Up for DoorDash

Signing up for DoorDash is straightforward.

Here are the five steps:

1. Download the App

First things first, you’ll need to get your hands on the DoorDash app.

Using the app is much better than using a web browser because your phone allows push notifications and automatically locates the restaurants nearest to you.

Plus, DoorDash is primarily designed as an app.

Download the food delivery app via the Apple Store or Google Play.

When it’s finished downloading, you can feel free to open the app.

2. Enter Personal Information

Once you open up the app, you’ll be prompted to sign up or sign in.

Select the button that says “sign up.”

DoorDash may then ask you whether or not you’re a robot.

Provided that you are and have remained human, tick the box that says “I am human.”

You’ll be brought to a signup page, where you can sign up via a Facebook, Google, or Apple account, or you can simply add your personal information.

Make sure to include the required phone number and email address and select signup.

3. Create Password and Confirm Account

Create a password of eight digits or more.

After that, you’ll be required to verify your account.

This typically occurs with the phone number you provided.

4. Log In

Once you’ve created your account and verified your phone number, you can begin placing orders on DoorDash.

Go to the app again, and this time select “sign in.”

5. Add Payment Options

Before you can pay for your order, though, you need to put in your payment details.

You can use any major credit card, including Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express.

Simply enter your payment details, and then you can get scrolling.

How to Place an Order on DoorDash

Your phone will automatically ask you if you want to allow DoorDash to track your location.

You should select “yes,” as allowing DoorDash to track you will target food to your location so that you only see restaurants currently available to you.

1. Browsing Food

On the app page, you can scroll through the various restaurants and decide which looks yummy.

When you decide on a restaurant, you can select that restaurant and then see the menu.

2. Adding Items to Your Cart

Before you add items to your cart, make sure the delivery is going where you want.

At the top of the screen, press the option that says “deliver to” and make sure it’s routing to your address.

When you see food items that look good, simply select them, then select add to cart.

This is how you’ll add them to your cart.

3. Checking Out

When you’re ready to check out, select the option that says view cart at the bottom of the screen.

At the bottom of the cart, if you’re ready to order, select continue.

4. The Checkout Process

Once you’re ready to pay, click continue on the bottom of the “my cart” screen.

You’ll then see final details that you should confirm:

  • drop-off location
  • ETA
  • drop-off option (leave at my door with contactless delivery, e.g.)
  • and the tip you’ll leave for the dasher.

Do I Pay Beforehand for The Food or At the Door?

For DoorDash pay, all expenses, including tips, are arranged beforehand.

You can pay for an order you want right now, or you can pay for an order to be delivered at some time in the future.

If you decide to receive an order in the future, you can schedule an exact date and time.

Then, whether by bike, scooter, or car, your food will arrive reliably when you’ve scheduled it.

What to Expect After Placing an Order

After you place your order, the waiting game begins.

You’ll be brought to a screen with a map that shows your Dasher’s expected route to get from the restaurant to your residence.

vector graphic showing illustration that explains "how does doordash work"

1. DoorDash Confirms Your Order

Four icons are arranged in a timeline at the bottom of the “waiting” screen after placing an order.

The furthest to the left is the DoorDash logo.

When this logo is colored in, DoorDash has confirmed your order.

2. Waiting for Your Order

You’ll wait for your order, watching it progress in real-time on the waiting screen.

The three icons on the bottom of the “waiting screen” are, from left to right, an icon depicting a building, an icon depicting a car, and an icon depicting a home.

If the building icon is lit, the restaurant has received and is preparing your order.

If the car icon is lit, a Dasher has confirmed delivery and is bringing the order to you.

If the home icon is lit, your delivery has been completed.

3. Receiving Your Order

Depending on whether or not you selected contactless delivery, you will receive your order either on your doorstep or from the hands of the delivery driver.

4. Tipping Your Driver

If you’ve decided to pay with a tip at the outset of the purchasing process, no further action is necessary.

The driver will receive one hundred percent of your tip, which will go towards helping them support themselves as DoorDash drivers.

5. Rating Your Driver

After you’ve received your order, you’ll be asked to rate your driver.

Remember that receiving good ratings is important to drivers, so you should always award the driver five stars unless something very strange happens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions concerning DoorDash and DoorDash drivers.

doordash albertson's driver leaving the store to deliver groceries

Do DoorDash drivers get free food?

DoorDash drivers, as a rule, don’t get free food.

However, DoorDash is one of the only food delivery companies with a benefits program for its employees.

Dashers may unlock benefits through fidelity that include higher pay, gas credits, and DoorDash credits.

Is DoorDash better than Uber Eats?

The question of whether DoorDash is better than Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates, or other food delivery services depends on who you ask.

DoorDash has fewer requirements for drivers meaning they have a much larger potential workforce.

Additionally, DoorDash is one of the cheapest delivery apps, and can be cheaper than Uber Eats.

However, this depends on the specific restaurant and whether or not they’ve decided to opt-in to DoorDash’s restaurant subscription service as detailed above.

Does DoorDash leave food at the door?

As of 2020, all DoorDash deliveries are non-contact by default.

This means that the Dasher is given the heads-up that you want them to drop off your food in a safe and secure location on your doorstep, then send you a notification when they’ve delivered the order.

You can read more about this policy and how to change to contact delivery on the DoorDash Help Pages.

Wrapping Up

DoorDash is the modern solution to our quickly dwindling free time.

You need to eat, so why would you settle for some cheap fast food location in your area?

Support a local, sustainable city ecosystem with DoorDash while saving time and money.

1 thought on “How Does DoorDash Work for Customers?”

  1. I’ve noticed over the years that most surveys of all kinds have a rating of 1 to 5, and there is a bit of displeasure when one uses a rating of less than 5 to rate their experience. I noticed in your article that you said “you should always award the driver five stars unless something very strange happens”. Since there is a perceived fear of offending one by giving a rating of less than 5, why do we even have a 1 to 5 rating system anyway? Wouldn’t it be better if we had a system that reported only a pleased or displeased rating? Maybe a “Good” or “Bad” choice in rating? I know that doesn’t give a true and accurate snapshot of what the customer has experienced, but too many people are just too afraid of offending someone so they automatically give the 5 rating anyway, deserved or not. Just curious why you would encourage people not to be totally honest with their delivery experience.


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