- DoorDash has expanded its DoorDash Kitchen model to offer DoorDash Kitchens Full Service, a partnership model that allows restaurants to license their brands to the aggregator to receive help with hiring, training and operating the facility, the company said on Thursday in a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive.
- The company will offer the service to certain brands in its original Redwood City DoorDash Kitchen location as well as its pop-up DoorDash Kitchen in San Jose, California, which opened today, inside Westfield Oakridge shopping center. The San Jose location will operate Aria Korean Street Food, Canter's Deli, Curry Up Now, Milk Bar, The Melt Express and YiFang Taiwan Fruit Tea.
- The new experience, which is similar to the operations of a traditional shared kitchen operator, will give DoorDash another way to diversify its offerings, which the company has been expanding in the last year —including turnkey digital storefronts for partner restaurants.
When DoorDash launched DoorDash Kitchens in 2019, its original goal was to assist restaurants in growing their geographic footprints and to reach more customers to grow their revenue, Ruth Isenstadt, director of DoorDash Kitchens, said in an email. But the company soon realized restaurants wanted more than just help with finding real estate.
"We heard from some of our restaurant partners that more support would be helpful to open a new delivery-forward kitchen, as opening any new store comes with significant economic and operational investments including hiring, procuring equipment, training, and more," Isenstadt said. "This kickstarted the idea for DoorDash Kitchens Full Service, where DoorDash assumes more of the day-to-day operations in order to provide an even more flexible and cost-effective way for restaurants to expand."
Some restaurants, for example, wanted to outsource their off-premise business to free up capacity for dine-in while others wanted to test new markets with little risk or get hands-on support for a location as they grow their business.
For hiring, DoorDash will bring on cooks itself or partner with a culinary operator, like A La Couch, to find staff to prepare meals on DoorDash's behalf. DoorDash hires managers at each facility and front-of-house staff to manage delivery and pickup orders. For training, restaurants will be actively engaged in figuring out optimum menus for each location, including setting up training sessions to make sure kitchen staff are creating the same quality food as their physical locations. Partners also can provide a list of ingredients and preferred sources to ensure consistency.
DoorDash then runs the day-to-day operations of the facility and restaurant partners receive a portion of the revenue. Some will have the opportunity to sell products wholesale to DoorDash, as well.
DoorDash also established a culinary team led by Chef Carl Bertka, former head of culinary development at Ruby Tuesday and former pastry chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey in London. The team has a mix of fine dining, casual, corporate foodservice and catering experience to handle various cuisines and operating needs.
While the company hasn't shared any plans to permanently expand this model beyond the Bay Area, if it proves to be successful, it could give the company a leg up over other third-party aggregators, especially since DoorDash essentially oversees the entire delivery experience from start to finish.
While Isenstadt said DoorDash is currently focused on the San Jose location, there could be increased demand going forward, especially as large chains continue to expand through ghost kitchens, virtual brands and host kitchens.
"Many restaurants believe that new kitchen models can be a core part of their strategy moving forward," Isenstadt said.