- DoorDash announced an extension of its Gas Rewards program through August on Friday. The program was first implemented in mid-March to help drivers offset high fuel prices and offers drivers 10% cash back on gas through the company’s DasherDirect prepaid business Visa card.
- The program was extended based on feedback from drivers, who have had a high rate of use, according to the release emailed to Restaurant Dive. The company said over 8,600 of its drivers use the cards every hour, and 74% of drivers surveyed gave the program a good rating or higher.
- Other foodservice delivery companies, including Grubhub and Waitr, have also added driver incentives to help combat high fuel prices, while Uber Eats added a fuel surcharge to consumers to go directly to drivers and couriers.
Fuel market analysts expect gas to remain above $4 until November, which is a threshold for customers to cut back on restaurant spending, according to research from Technomic. Consumers are also facing historically high inflation. The confluence of cost pressures is deterring customers from driving as much, which negatively impacts a majority of restaurants’ recovery.
In such an environment, delivery can help to maintain some digital traffic for restaurants, but delivery companies have also struggled with driver shortages, just as their restaurant partners have. Some drivers have even quit as gas price increases destroyed their ability to make a living. Gas rewards programs and fuel surcharges could help with retention in this environment. In a statement, Michelle Ronca, a DoorDash driver based in California, said DoorDash’s Gas Rewards program has helped her keep more earnings from the job and save on costs for other tasks such as picking up groceries.
While the foodservice delivery space grapples with high fuel prices, the restaurant industry was experiencing a very high quits rate in February, the latest month for which Bureau of Labor Statistics data are available. To compete with other employers, restaurant companies are adding new benefits, from same-day pay to vacation reimbursement. Likewise, delivery companies may have to keep some of their fuel incentives in place even after prices start to fall in order to win in a tight labor market.
DoorDash said it will continue to monitor gas prices through the summer, while seeking feedback from its driver community.