DoorDash, a San Francisco-based food delivery service, has caused a social media stir with an immigration-focused PR push.
One of the biggest hurdles delivery companies have to jump is distinguishing itself from its competition — that is, what it takes to make a customer think “oh, I’m going to order dinner from Postmates tonight instead of from Uber Eats.” That need for differentiation is what drove companies to add restaurants to their platforms without their permission, for example, and is behind various public relations efforts and promotions that most customers appear to look past. Folks aren’t looking past a new PR push from San Francsico-based DoorDash, however — but the attention the public is meting out might not be what the company hoped for.
On Monday, DoorDash announced a new program called “Executive Orders,” in which from “from Feb 24-28, we’re waiving all fees on food from areas affected by the travel ban and making a donation to immigrants’ rights causes.” The effort is an offshoot of its Kitchens Without Borders program, an effort that its website says is the company’s “initiative to support immigrant- and refugee-owned businesses.” But while a blog post from the company says that the programs are intended to support the businesses by offering “free access to small business advisors,” the company remains silent on the percentage it charges these immigrant-owned restaurants any time an order is placed through its service, a move that inspired some users of the social media platform Twitter to claim that the announcement was woke-washing, and little more.
Just so we’re being clear here, you’re still taking 30% per order from these immigrant and refugee owned businesses right? https://t.co/fv0mhuNl6h— Richie Nakano (@linecook) February 25, 2020
Others derided the company’s alleged treatment of its delivery drivers, many of whom are also immigrants. For example, Tony Xu, the CEO of the $13 billion company, has been a vocal critic of laws that would require DoorDash to classify its drivers as employees, and last fall the company launched a $90 million effort to eradicate the worker-protecting legislation. (This, after an outcry over an admitted policy in which the company kept tips instead of passing them on to workers.)
True story! Dashers are being paid an average of $2/hr. to deliver the food, so let's be very clear about exactly how massive the pile of shit is that @DoorDash and @t_xu are actually trying to feed us.— I'm Gonna Cook That! (@GonnaCookThat) February 25, 2020
Apparent supporters of current immigration policies also decried the move, with some even threatening a boycott.
This means we American citizens should boycott your services. I know I will.— Vikki Arneault (@noapathybelievr) February 24, 2020
You just lost me DoorDash. What a poor choice you made to pick a side.— All Aboard ! T/P (@Crystal_75FL) February 24, 2020
While DoorDash didn’t appear to respond to most of the tweets on fees charged to restaurants (which are indeed significant) or the plight of its drivers, it did respond to critics of its supposed support of immigration with a light — some might say, glib — tone.
Looks like you're getting heated. We're happy to deliver something more mild.— DoorDash (@DoorDash) February 24, 2020
What do you have against free delivery? Isn't this the land of the free?— DoorDash (@DoorDash) February 25, 2020
The left MAGA— Richie Nakano (@linecook) February 25, 2020
And in other news...
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited San Francisco’s Chinatown Monday, stopping by cooking supply store The Wok Shop and the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. Her visit was intended to quell fears of the new coronavirus, which have had a devastating impact on business at the area’s bars, restaurants, and stores. [NBC Bay Area]
- Berkeley just got its first Korean-style corn dog restaurant, a spot on Hearst Avenue near UC Berkeley’s North Gate called Seoul Hotdog. Expect unusual batters like one with squid ink, and toppings that include mozzarella and rice cakes. [Daily Californian]
- The Englander, a popular San Leandro pub and sports bar, is closing this week after 25 years in business. Its landlord refused to renew its lease, its owners say, and the spot will close for good on Friday. [East Bay Times]
- Daly City grocery store Greek Imports has provided shoppers with hard-to-find foods from( of course) Greece since 1992. Now under new ownership, the emporium at 6524 Mission Street has ben renamed Halal International and Greek Market, and offers a new (and, reportedly, unparallelled) selection of Middle Eastern sodas, spices, and grab-and-go options. [SF Gate]
- An alleged thief was caught on tape raiding the registers at San Francisco restaurants Urban Bowls and Xanath Ice Cream, walking past customers to reach into the drawer and steal the dough. [ABC 7]
- Indian-Pakistani fast-casual mini-chain Zareen’s is opening a third location in Redwood City. [East Bay Times]
- Chef Jonathan De La Torre, an Oakland native who’s served in the kitchens of Nopa, Commis, and Quince, is increasing the frequency of his Berkeley-based North Africa-meets-CA Serene pop-up next month. [Berkeleyside]
- Son & Garden, a bar and restaurant from Farmhouse Kitchen Thai’s Kasem Saengsawang, is now open at 700 Polk Street, but its “official” opening isn’t until March 12. [Hoodline]