LIMA — Food delivery service DoorDash quietly emerged into the Lima market several weeks ago.
The app-based service, already popular in large metros like Columbus, allows customers to have fast food and takeout delivered straight to their homes, albeit for a fee. But its entrance into the Lima market caught some restaurant employees here by surprise.
How it works
Customers place their order through the DoorDash website or mobile app. Orders are then sent to a DoorDash driver, known as dashers, who place, pick up and deliver the order for a tip.
The delivery service is available late at night, depending on restaurant hours, one aspect that appeals to its users.
But there are also fees involved, like delivery fees and tips for the driver, and delivery times can run upwards of 45 minutes, depending on call volume and location.
Third-party food delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub have expanded beyond major markets into smaller cities like Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Lima.
The trend has led to some national fast food chains and franchises like Wendy’s to partner with those services to deliver, without having to hire new employees. But not all restaurants are interested in working with third-party services.
There are additional expenses for participating restaurants, like marketing and commission fees, and DoorDash’s estimated delivery times don’t always sync with what’s going on inside the restaurant.
“They don’t know our timing,” said Barbara Pinney, a supervisor for Casa Lu Al in Lima. “I can have something to you in 5 to 15 minutes (on a Wednesday afternoon). But on a Saturday night, that’s another story.”
Casa Lu Al had its menu removed from DoorDash after learning of errors on the website, something which restaurant staff worried would harm Casa Lu Al’s reputation, according to Pinney.
“They were trying to order things that we didn’t have,” she said.
Other restaurants featured on the food delivery service’s app already have their own delivery services.
That’s true for Daryl & Daryl Pizza & Wings in Lima, which charges a $2 delivery fee.
“It would be cheaper to call us,” said Tabitha Brown, store manager of the Daryl & Daryl’s on Robb Avenue.
Brown said she doesn’t plan to officially partner with DoorDash, although customers can still order pizza and wings from Daryl & Daryl’s on the DoorDash app.
“They’ve brought in business,” Brown said, noting she’s seen between six to 10 additional orders each weekend since DoorDash launched in Lima. Her overall perception of DoorDash is “mostly positive,” although there have been some complications with inaccurate delivery estimates.
Some restaurant managers, like Liz Leis at The Met, see the app as an opportunity to grow carry-out sales.
“It’s been kind of fun,” said Leis, The Met’s director of operations. “We just got a few (orders) the first time and now almost every night we get a couple … Everything’s been smooth as can be. People can sit at home in their pajamas and still eat at The Met.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.