Amid already intense competition and regulatory scrutiny of the food delivery sector, overseas delivery service DoorDash has unveiled its launch into the local market.
The US franchise expressed optimism about its first expansion outside of North America, unveiling its launch in Melbourne on Wednesday (4 September). DoorDash also said that it is “building a corporate team in the Melbourne area”.
“We dove deep into the Australian market and quickly realised two things: restaurants want more from their delivery partners, and not all Melburnians have access to the selection that they should expect,” the company’s Australian general manager, Thomas Stephens, said.
“We’ve built a lot of product and expertise to solve these problems in North America. Combining that experience with a tailored approach just for Melbourne, we’re excited to grow the market here. We’ve built a service for Australian eating habits with a simple focus: provide more access to Melburnians’ favourite foods.”
According to its website, DoorDash already has over 350 restaurants, cafés and take-away food outlets in Melbourne already registered on its platform, although some of these are likely to double up in multiple food categories.
A variety of independents are joined by certain locations of well-known chains, including Pizza Hut, TGI Friday’s and Muffin Break.
DoorDash also claims to have an exclusive partnership with Il Gusto and Cedar Bakery.
In addition to deliveries, DoorDash said that it will offer a pick-up option for users to collect their food “on the go” while also offering group orders.
“Working collaboratively with restaurant owners of all business sizes, customers and Dashers, our priority is accessibility to a delightful food delivery experience for all,” Mr Stephens said.
“From Melbourne, we aim to continue our expansion efforts throughout Victoria and Australia through the remainder of 2019 and into 2020.”
Nando’s CEO, Craig Mason, was quoted in the DoorDash launch announcement as saying that his company had joined the platform “to offer our customers even more flexibility”.
Meanwhile, Gary Mink, owner of Bay City Burrito, was quoted as saying that “it has been refreshing working with the team at DoorDash, who have taken the time to understand my business and set me up for success on their platform to get incremental orders from both their delivery and pick-up product”.
Already operating in Australia are food delivery providers including Uber Eats, Menulog and Deliveroo, as well as smaller providers and those servicing particular niches, such as those specialising in pick-up orders or the corporate market.
And in recent months, service station giant BP announced a partnership with Uber Eats to offer deliveries of its convenience snacks and pantry items, under a new service called Couchfood.
Meanwhile, German-founded Foodora announced in August last year that it would abandon Australia in favour of “higher growth markets” overseas.
The launch follows scrutiny of the gig economy, and in particular food delivery operators, amid regulatory concerns about whether drivers are employees or contractors, and also disquiet on their contract terms to delivery drivers/riders.
Regulatory intervention has already seen Uber Eats amend its contracts over fairness concerns, while being cleared by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) over the employee versus contractor debate.
The FWO in June this year abandoned legal action it had launched against Foodora, citing its exit from the local market and the sale of its local assets, which it said “resulted in more than 1,000 Foodora delivery workers receiving only 31 per cent of the entitlements owing to them, including the three workers subject to the FWO’s legal action”.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.