Uber Eats integrates with Toast, Clover

Dive Brief:

  • Uber has partnered with Toast and Clover to allow U.S. and Canadian restaurants to join Uber Eats directly through the POS providers, Uber Eats wrote in an email to Restaurant Dive.
  • Orders on Uber Eats’ platform will be processed by the POS providers, allowing for easier management of menus, items and ordering through a single platform, Uber Eats said.
  • These types of partnerships allow Uber to retrieve menus from POS platforms and upload directly to a restaurant’s Uber Eats page. 

Dive Insight:

Not only will this integration ensure menu accuracy, but it will also create a more streamlined onboarding process for restaurants. Prior to these partnerships, merchants had to sign up on Uber Eats and then activate POS integrations to sync menus and other information, which often involved separate processes on multiple platforms, the company said. This necessitated a slower onboard processes and more manual follow up by restaurants. 

These integrations are currently available to restaurant partners. Integrations are accessible via Clover in the U.S. and Canada and with Toast in the U.S.

Uber Eats has been enhancing its platform to reach more customers. Uber Eats rolled out voice ordering during the summer, expanded its mobile platform to cover stadiums and began various tests of autonomous delivery. The company also added nationwide shipping earlier this year. The company has also been working to improve its experience for grocery delivery as it works to build out this category.

Other third-party marketplaces have been upgrading their restaurant platforms, as well. DoorDash revamped its dashboard for small- and medium-sized restaurants to make it easier for merchants to receive diner insights and educational information. 

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UBER EATS MAKES IT EASIER FOR SOME RESTAURANTS TO SIGN UP

Uber Eats is making it easier for some restaurants to sign up for its services.

Operators that use Toast or Clover can now create an account with the third-party delivery provider directly through their POS systems. A tighter integration between Uber Eats and the suppliers simplifies the process, allowing restaurants to get set up in “just a few clicks,” according to Uber Eats.

Uber Eats said the self-signup system is a first for the industry and will apply to hundreds of thousands of restaurants.

“At a time where merchants are faced with unprecedented staffing challenges, we heard loud  and clear that we need to make it as easy as possible to unlock the growth that Uber Eats offers,” said Roy Frenkiel, director of product management at Uber, in a statement. 

The integration also means that once restaurants are up and running on Uber Eats, incoming orders will be injected directly into their POS rather than a separate tablet.

Uber Eats self-signup interfaceUber Eats’ streamlined self-signup system for Toast and Clover. / Image courtesy of Uber Eats

It may seem like a small adjustment, but it should come as welcome news to restaurants that are increasingly looking to reduce friction in their operations. At the FSTEC conference last week, operator after operator called on vendors to create better connections with one another.

“You need to continue to listen to what restaurateurs are asking for,” said Dog Haus CEO Andre Vener in a message to the many suppliers at the event. “You need to build tech stacks that work with other companies.”

For Uber Eats, the deeper integration will make it even more accessible to many restaurants. More than 200,000 restaurants use Clover and more than 68,000 use Toast, according to their websites.

The self-signup product is available for Clover users in the U.S. and Canada and Toast in the U.S.

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Vromo Officially Integrates with Toast

Vromo, a delivery management system for restaurants, has announced the launch of its integration on the Toast point-of-sale platform. Vromo said this new integration will strengthen delivery capabilities for thousands of restaurants in the U.S.

In its official announcement of the news, Vromo said this integration will enable restaurants to scale their delivery operations in an efficient and profitable way in order to keep up with the growing demand for food delivery.

Toast is a cloud-based restaurant platform with more than 180 technology partners “who deliver specialized technology solutions and services to help restaurant operators increase sales, engage guests and keep employees happy,” according to the release.

“We are excited to offer our customers Vromo’s delivery management software solution and direct integration with Toast,” says Keith Corbin, senior director, business development from Toast. “This Toast integration provides our restaurant customers with an advanced, automated dispatch solution to efficiently manage their self-delivery channel, third-party delivery fleets, or a hybrid of both. We are proud to work with the team at Vromo that prioritizes supporting the restaurant sector.”

Vromo software was designed for the restaurant sector and works with restaurant brands that operate their own delivery fleet, third-party fleets or a combination of both. The software offers a hybrid delivery feature whereby deliveries can be redirected to third- party drivers when the restaurant’s core delivery team is not available. For restaurants finding it difficult to hire drivers or are struggling with driver capacity, Vromo claims its product has led to significant improvements in fulfillment levels as well as improved service levels.

“We’re delighted to integrate with Toast and are excited to help Toast customers strengthen their delivery capabilities,” said Vromo CEO Brian Hickey. “Our goal is to make food delivery more profitable for restaurant brands and we do this by offering a solution that automates, drives efficiency and improves the customer experience. We also offer multiple third- party delivery fleets so that restaurant brands have access to the best service levels and the lowest delivery costs in the US. We’re excited to work with Toast and play our part in bringing even more value to their customers.”

Other benefits for restaurants as a result of this integration include reliable driver ETA, order stacking and, branded order tracking that allows customers to track their driver to their door whilst receiving branded content and messaging for both driver and customer updates.

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Empower Delivery Encourages Restaurants to Go All-in on Delivery

Two big names in delivery have teamed up to bring independent restaurants and ghost kitchens a solution that could dramatically improve the economics of their delivery programs. But as restaurant executive Meredith Sandland and ClusterTruck founder Chris Baggott explain, this holy grail of profitable delivery requires restaurants to go all in with their own driver fleets and tailor-made software.

This new delivery- and kitchen-management software is called Empower Delivery—and its adoption is a big ask for the sophisticated, delivery-forward restaurants and standalone ghost kitchens the company is targeting. The Empower system claims to solve for the complexity, cost and poor customer experiences that some delivery-optimized and ghost-kitchen restaurants face.

After announcing the details of the Empower Delivery software and driver structure last week, the two spoke with Food On Demand for a deeper look at the spin-off’s business model.

Chris Baggott founded ClusterTruck in 2015 after years as a tech entrepreneur, and he said splitting off the software side of the ghost kitchen business is a natural next step. In his view, ClusterTruck’s eight-year history has proven that integrated software coordinating the fire times of individual dishes can be married with a fleet of dedicated contract drivers to avoid the operational challenges of third-party delivery with much lower fulfillment costs.

For Sandland, previously chief development officer at Taco Bell and Kitchen United, and co-author of Delivering the Digital Restaurant, her new role as CEO of Empower Delivery is an opportunity to realize her dreams of improving the economics of delivery for restaurants while simultaneously creating a better experience for end users.

The pair say Empower is aimed at a very specific corner of today’s North American restaurant market: “sophisticated” independent operators who have resisted going all in on delivery, but realize it’s a critical growth opportunity in the years ahead.

For local, multi-unit operators that they imagine benefitting, Baggott and Sandland assert there is no variant of the existing outsourced delivery model that will result in sustainable economics for operators, happier drivers and better food reaching customers. The key to different outcomes, they stress, is an entirely different approach that doesn’t include any third-party delivery providers, and relies instead on an elaborate software suite that means operators might need as few as three pieces of software to run a high-volume, delivery-forward business.

Sandland said ClusterTruck’s flagship location in Indianapolis delivers eye-popping numbers including an $8 million average unit volume, approximately 1,000 off-premises orders a day, a leaner tech stack and labor costs that are less than 20 percent of sales, a 7 percent average cost of delivery, along with free delivery and reasonable menu prices for customers.

“If you call your drivers your front of house, you’re at 26 percent of sales for your labor costs,” Sandland said. “I was like, how is this possible? It’s amazing.”

Going all-in on delivery using ClusterTruck’s operating model as a template also requires specific optimization of cooks within a delivery-only facility in a way that sounds similar to lean manufacturing where busywork and wasted steps are meticulously identified and eliminated. She added that such a setup results in happier humans who know they’re spending their time in productive ways and not being yelled at like in so many restaurant kitchens.

“Customers want delivery, but it’s not really working,” Sandland added. “Restaurants aren’t happy with it, drivers aren’t happy with it, third-party platforms aren’t making money, the restaurants aren’t making money, like, it’s not quite right.”

Spending money to save

Abandoning the frequently cited idea that incremental sales are the key to profitable delivery, Empower Delivery is designed for operators who are willing to build or lease purpose-built ghost kitchen spaces, allowing existing brick-and-mortar restaurants to retain their focus on dine-in customers, while separating off-premises occasions into a dedicated space.

Sandland said there are more independent restaurant groups in this category than meets the eye, and many have reacted coldly to delivery because “between menu mark-ups and service fees, it’s very expensive and they think, ‘Why would I give up my customer to someone else to give them a bad experience at a high price? That doesn’t seem good for my brand.’”

Operators primarily doing dine-in, fast-casual or drive-thru service probably wouldn’t use this software today, she added. Upscale casual dining operations with excellent food and loyal customers would be perfect fits, noting that California’s Hillstone Restaurant Group—whose brands include Houston’s, Hillstone and Houston’s, could be a “perfect poster child.”

Addressing the reluctance of restaurants to hire in-house drivers amid the current labor crunch, Baggott said giving contracted drivers “dignity” in their work makes it much easier to hire and retain drivers. A fully optimized delivery operation intends to keep them busy with 4-6 jobs per hour within a six- or seven-mile delivery radius, with less time wasted by waiting around for orders to finish.

Baggott said an operation doing 100 delivery orders a day would require approximately 8 drivers for that day. Throughout its eight-year history, ClusterTruck has retained 21 of its original fleet of 30 drivers.

“Maybe on a good hour I can get two jobs,” Baggott said of drivers on DoorDash, Uber Eats and the like. “Because I can get more jobs per hour [using Empower’s model], you can pay significantly less per job, so the restaurant now is paying less per driver, but the driver is actually making a lot more money.”

Adding that a lack of driver dignity comes from restaurants finding drivers to be a hassle and customers ultimately receiving sub-par food and orders frequently being late, he said it’s not the drivers’ fault, it’s an inefficient system ripe for reinvention.

Abandoning incrementality

Asked about the challenges of finding and convincing multi-brand local operators to make a big investment in delivery infrastructure to ultimately grow volumes and reduce delivery costs, Baggott and Sandland said their approach requires everyone to imagine there’s a way to make money on delivery if and only if 100 percent of the unit’s volume were off-premises sales.

The alternative for restaurants, as Sandland and Baggot point out, is to either keep delivery customers at arm’s reach, which many independent operators have done even throughout the pandemic, or keep paying third-party commissions that many in the industry feel are unsustainable over the long term.

“Sophisticated independents have never embraced delivery, even during COVID, because you can’t make money and it’s a bad customer experience,” Baggott said. “But now these people are coming around, and there’s a lot of them that are going to do this—they’re going to deliver the way ClusterTruck delivers, in a purpose-built facility” and with software designed expressly for high-volume delivery.

He added that “delivery is never going to be great until these restaurants actually focus on it like a real business, not an incremental business.”

Sandland invited interested operators to come to Indianapolis to see the largest ClusterTruck ghost kitchen facility, which she said will wow any seasoned restaurant person. Aside from nobody yelling, she said the calm vibes within the facility are especially shocking given daily order volumes that often exceed 1,000.

“When you see what they’re capable of and you understand that the software solves the problem in a different way than anyone else in the industry, you think ‘Oh yeah, this should be available to everyone,’” she said. “Truly, this is not what I anticipated I would end up doing, and it is only because when I saw it, I was so excited that I am here.”

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DoorDash Adds More Grocers, Retail Chains to its Platform

DoorDash has expanded its merchant mix with a handful of new grocers and retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Big Lots. This further broadening the largest delivery provider in the U.S. beyond meal delivery.

The latest announcement lists a variety of new grocery, convenience, sporting goods and home goods sellers including Sprouts Farmers Market, EG America, Big Lots, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Giant Eagle, Weis Markets and The Raley’s Companies, which offers on-demand grocery delivery from 213 locations across Northern California, Nevada and Arizona.

In total, DoorDash now has more than 75,000 non-restaurant retail stores on its platform across North America.

“DoorDash’s mission is to be the one-stop shop for all local commerce needs for consumers, and that starts with bringing every business on Main Street online. Our goal is to level the playing field for retailers while helping consumers get the best of their neighborhood delivered to them instantly. DoorDash is hyper-focused on selection, and we’re excited about the significant progress we’ve made towards connecting every grocery, convenience, and retail store to every local consumer,” said Shanna Prevé, vice president, business development at DoorDash.

Over the course of the past year, customers who ordered from a grocery store on DoorDash increased by 130 percent.

Incrementality studies conducted across a number of the company’s grocery and convenience enterprise partners indicate that DoorDash is 70-90 percent incremental to their existing customer base—meaning that it believes those merchants are receiving orders they wouldn’t if they weren’t listed on the DoorDash platform.

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Starbucks Brewing Revolutionary Web3 Experience for its Starbucks Rewards Members

New Starbucks Odyssey experience will offer members the ability to earn and buy digital collectible stamps (NFTs) that will unlock access to new, immersive coffee experiences

As one of the first companies to integrate NFTs with an industry-leading loyalty program at scale, Starbucks will create an accessible Web3 community that will enable new ways to engage with members and partners (employees)

Starbucks today unveiled Starbucks Odyssey, a new experience powered by Web3 technology that will offer Starbucks Rewards members and Starbucks partners (employees) in the United States the opportunity to earn and purchase digital collectible assets that will unlock access to new benefits and immersive coffee experiences. Starbucks is one of the first companies to integrate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with an industry-leading loyalty program at scale, while creating a digital community that will enable new ways for Starbucks to engage with its members and its partners. Starting Sept. 12, customers and partners can join the waitlist for a chance to be among the first to receive access to the Starbucks Odyssey experience, which will launch later this year. 

“Starbucks has always served as the Third Place, a place between home and work where you feel the warmth of connection over coffee, community and belonging. The Starbucks Odyssey experience will extend the Third Place connection to the digital world,” said Brady Brewer, Starbucks executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “For the first time we are connecting our Starbucks Rewards loyalty program members not just to Starbucks, but to each other.”

“Leveraging Web3 technology will allow our members to access experiences and ownership that was not possible before. Starbucks Odyssey will transcend the foundational benefits that our Starbucks Rewards members have come to love, and unlock digital, physical and experiential benefits that are uniquely Starbucks,” continued Brewer. “By integrating into the Starbucks Rewards ecosystem and grounding the experience in coffee, connection and community, we are entering the Web3 space differently than any other brand, while deepening our members’ connection to Starbucks. Our vision is to create a place where our digital community can come together over coffee, engage in immersive experiences, and celebrate the heritage and future of Starbucks.”

Overview of Starbucks Odyssey

Starbucks Odyssey will be an extension of the industry-leading Starbucks Rewards program that members can access using their Starbucks Rewards login credentials. Once logged in, members can engage in Starbucks Odyssey ‘journeys,’ a series of activities, such as playing interactive games or taking on fun challenges to deepen their knowledge of coffee and Starbucks. Members will be rewarded for completing journeys with a digital collectable ‘journey stamp’ (NFT).

Members can also purchase ‘limited-edition stamps’ (NFTs) through a built-in marketplace within the Starbucks Odyssey web app experience. Limited-edition stamps will be available for all members to purchase directly with a credit card.  No crypto wallet or cryptocurrency will be required – making the Starbucks Odyssey experience a fun and easy way for members to access this new technology and claim an ownership stake in their loyalty to Starbucks. 

Each digital collectable stamp will include a point value based on its rarity, and the stamps can be bought or sold among members within the marketplace, with ownership secured on a blockchain. As stamps are collected, members’ points will increase, unlocking access to unique benefits and experiences that have never been offered before. These experiences could range from a virtual espresso martini-making class, to access to unique merchandise and artist collaborations, to invitations to exclusive events at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries or even trips to Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm in Costa Rica.

All stamps will feature iconic Starbucks artwork co-created with Starbucks partners as well as outside artists – giving members and partners access to these treasured assets for the first time.  Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of limited-edition stamps will be donated to support causes that matter to Starbucks partners and Starbucks Rewards members.

Customers can sign up for the waitlist at https://waitlist.starbucks.com/ starting today. Invitations will be sent to select waitlist members later this year, who will be among the first to explore the experience.  As Starbucks Odyssey evolves, the company will continue to gather feedback from members and Starbucks partners, which will help shape the future of this innovative, new experience for Starbucks Rewards. 

Aligning to Sustainability Commitments

Building Starbucks Odyssey using technology that aligns with Starbucks sustainability aspirations and commitments is a top priority. Starbucks is committed to reducing its carbon, water and waste footprints and is taking a thoughtful and thorough approach as the company works towards the launch later this year. Starbucks will utilize a “proof-of-stake” blockchain technology built by Polygon, which uses less energy than first generation “proof-of-work” blockchains.  

Reinventing the Third Place

Starbucks has a history of taking leading-edge technology, innovating, and making it accessible and approachable for mainstream audiences. The company’s success with its industry-leading Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, mobile payment and ordering, and Wi-Fi access in its stores has taught the company how to engage customers at scale to unlock opportunities using emerging technology.  Through this approach, the company will provide easier access to Web3 experiences and, in the process, introduce a new, next-generation loyalty program model to the world.

“This is just the beginning; Starbucks Odyssey is one of the ways we are reinventing the Third Place to meet our customers wherever they are – in a Starbucks store, on-the-go, or online. We are creating an accessible, digital Third Place community enabled by Web3 technology where Starbucks Rewards members and our partners can connect through unique experiences and come together around the love for coffee,” said Brewer.

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Two Charts Show Ongoing Third-Party Evolution

Taking stock of the third-party delivery market in the second quarter of 2022 largely continues long-term trends, but there are some notable nuggets.

In data from YipitData, a research and analysis firm with a focus on the delivery market, the big market share numbers continue to move in the same direction. DoorDash remains the No. 1 delivery player by far, reaching 60 percent of the total market through the second quarter.

Grubhub makes up 9 percent and has continued to tick down in market share. According to Yipit researchers, the third-largest U.S.-based delivery provider was down 2 percent in July compared to July 2021. It does, retain a strong position in New York, its largest market, but there Grubhub share has also ticked down 1 percent.

In the middle, with about 30 percent of the market share is Uber Eats, which has been in that range since July of 2021. The company lost some share in major markets like Boston and Philadelphia.

Getting down to the market level, secondary markets are currently seeing the most growth. According to Yipit, both Memphis, Tennessee, and Sacramento, California, grew third-party delivery sales by more than 10 percent, as seen in the chart below.

Larger cities, including Chicago, New Orleans and San Diego all saw sales decline slightly. While it wasn’t shown in the numbers, that may be due to nice summer weather and a consumer base that is more willing to go out and have fun as pandemic habits wear down.

At the brand level, one of the largest brands by scale was the most aggressive grower. Pizza Hut saw third-party delivery sales explode by 48 percent year quarter-over-quarter.

That is right in line with the rollout of third-party in the Yum-owned brand. As Food On Demand covered back in August, the brand has been aggressive in bringing the option for third-party to locations across the country.

“We made progress expanding systemwide adoption of third-party delivery-as-a-service to help address our delivery driver capacity constraints to meet consumer demand. As of the end of Q2, approximately 55 percent of our U.S. locations have implemented delivery-as-a-service, up from 40 percent at the beginning of the quarter,” said Yum CEO David Gibbs.

He hinted in the second-quarter earnings call that the company was struggling to hire and retain delivery drivers. Adopting delivery services was in part easing staffing pressure for franchise operators.

It wasn’t the only fast grower. Crumbl Cookies shot up by more than 40 percent and upscale Mediterranean fast-casual brand Cava was right behind at just over 35 percent growth. IHOP and First Watch, at either end of the breakfast spectrum, both sank by about 9 percent as more people braved the crowds for pancakes and eggs.

Head over to see the rest of Yipit Data’s examination of the second-quarter data, including how third-party players differed in key markets and what markets shrank when it came to third-party delivery sales.

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Qdoba enters Austin, Texas, via Reef ghost kitchens

Dive Brief:

  • Qdoba will sell its menu from two Reef Technology ghost kitchens in Austin, Texas, the Mexican chain announced Friday
  • Offerings from these locations will be available on DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates and Deliveroo.
  • This partnership marks Qdoba’s official debut in both the Austin market and the ghost restaurant space, CMO Karin Silk said in a statement, though the chain has said it would pilot ghost kitchen units with Reef in the past.

Dive Insight:

This ghost kitchen play builds on Qdoba’s earlier entry into virtual brands. In June, the chain launched its Pure Gold by Qdoba brand, which is available in select markets via third-party apps.

At the time, the company shared that expansion was a possibility, though it’s unclear if Pure Gold’s menu will be offered alongside Qdoba’s traditional offerings at Reef’s Austin locations. Qdoba announced it would trial ghost kitchens with Reef in March, in Austin as well as Seattle and Atlanta. The restaurant company plans to open 25 locations with Reef. Qdoba didn’t respond to questions for additional details by press time.

Reef continues to sign expansion deals with brands despite widely reported problems at the company. In Houston last year, several Reef units shuttered after inspectors discovered they were operating without proper permits. But the company has worked with city legislators in several markets including Dallas — less than three hours from Austin — to create pilot programs that aid its mobile restaurant vessels to reduce friction between Reef’s operations and local regulations. The company has also begun entering markets through more traditional brick-and-mortar commercial kitchens, avoiding potential permitting issues with its vessels.

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DoorDash for Work Launches New Features to Help Organizations Hire Top Talent and Retain Employees

While the workplace experience may have changed in recent years, ensuring that employees feel valued and engaged has never been more important. As companies work to support their employees from near or afar, benefits such as daily lunches, catered social events, and in-person team meetings can go a long way. Since launching DoorDash for Work in 2020, our solution has provided organizations with numerous ways to offer meals and food perks for their workforce. Over the past year, more than 3000 companies have onboarded DoorDash for Work, with overall DoorDash for Work platform usage growing by over 70%.* This includes in-office or remote expensed meals, DashPass for Work, employee gift cards, and more. 

Today, we’re excited to announce new DoorDash for Work features that ensure companies have more flexibility and selection to support current and prospective employees while keeping costs low. Organizations such as NewsCorp, Comcast, Carfax, The University of Southern California, and more have leveraged these products to increase employee job satisfaction and improve workplace productivity. 

Introducing Self-Serve Onboarding

Companies of all sizes are renewing their focus on providing perks and benefits to attract and retain top talent. DashPass for Work provides employees with a DashPass subscription that offers unlimited $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on eligible orders from hundreds of thousands of restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, and more, across DoorDash.** Additionally, companies can choose from a suite of offerings to round out their employee benefits package and increase job satisfaction including meal credits to make it easy to eat during the workday–especially from home, gift cards to recognize an accomplishment or work anniversary, and group orders that make coming into the office much more enjoyable.

With Self-Serve, companies can sign up on their own, directly from the DoorDash for Work website, and get started on this cost-effective program in minutes. Companies can easily set, track and manage budgets for employees, automate expense management, and easily deploy DashPass for their team. It’s a quick way to boost team morale without taking on extra administrative work!

Adding DashPass for Work to a meal stipend pays for itself in 2 orders on average. Employees who use DashPass for Work can save an average of $5 on every eligible DoorDash order they place. 

Expensing Made Easy with SAP Concur

Managing expenses can be a major pain point for employees and employers alike. 89% of finance departments have issues with their expenses process and about 10% of employees don’t file expense reports for reimbursement, even when they’re entitled to it. We’re excited to partner with SAP Concur, the world’s leading brand for travel, expense, and invoice management solutions. Now, busy employees can expense work meals in just one click and quickly get back to the task at hand. 

Catering at Your Fingertips

DoorDash for Work offers companies the flexibility and selection of choosing group-sized meals to feed their employees in the office or at an in-person event. With Catering, we make it easy, convenient, and cost-effective to feed the whole team while taking into account certain dietary restrictions and preferences. This feature supports many group sizes and functions whether it’s office family-style meals, catering for meetings and conferences, or events and social hours. Delivery of catering orders works just like receiving a regular order on DoorDash and Dashers who complete catering orders have the highest quality ratings with a proven track record of delivering larger, complex orders. Catering is currently only available in certain markets.  

Improving Upon Group Orders

As more teams begin meeting in the office on a daily or weekly basis, Group Orders are essential. Group Orders allow teams to eat together while giving each person the flexibility to choose what they want. We’re thrilled to improve upon Group Orders by providing employees with more flexibility and ease to eat with their teams using company meal budgets. Now, companies can apply Expensed Meal budgets to Group Orders, so teams can receive their food at once, maximize their budget, minimize the challenges with multiple drop-offs and remove the hassle of expensing. 

Survey Says…

We commissioned a survey of 2,000 employed Americans* to share how companies can design a balanced and flexible work culture for employees and potential new hires whether it’s in-person or at the office. The not-so-surprising news? Food plays a big part in ensuring an employee’s happiness. 

  • About three-fourths (74%) agree that sharing meals together positively contributes to company culture. 
  • It’s so important, in fact, that things like “free lunch” and “shar[ing] meals with my coworkers in our free time. Maybe a coffee, lunch or a cupcake, something simple”, are some of the ways respondents would feel more connected to their company culture. 
  • More than three in five (61%) believe that eating together encourages people to talk about things other than work, while 60% say they get to know their coworkers in a more casual setting.  

For companies looking to hire and onboard new employees, half of the respondents from this survey believe they will leave their current job within the next year. In fact, 39% of all respondents have changed jobs during the pandemic and among those respondents, 84% found it more difficult to engage with their coworkers. 

Offering perks can go a long way in attracting talent and creating a desirable work environment. 

  • “Soft perks” such as training opportunities (30%), free coffee or snacks at the office (28%), and mental health resources (27%) are being offered to respondents. 
  • When asked what their employer can do in support of building culture, allowing employees to raise concerns in a safe space (54%) and creating a place to connect with coworkers outside of work (50%) ranked at the top of the list. 
  • Additionally, top motivators for why employees want to return to in-person work full-time include spending more time with their coworkers (45%), being offered company-supplied meals (38%), and having their company pay for their commute (42%).

To start leveraging all the benefits of DoorDash for Work, learn more and sign up here.

*Survey methodology: This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 employed Americans was commissioned by DoorDash between August 3 and August 10, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).
* From Q2 2021 to Q2 2022.

**DashPass benefits apply only to eligible orders from DashPass merchants that meet the minimum subtotal requirement. Subtotal minimums will be identified for each DashPass eligible merchant on DoorDash.

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In Major Win for Gig Workers, Uber Agrees to Pay New Jersey $100 Million for Mischaracterizing Drivers as Contractors

Uber may have built its hailing empire, in part, by notoriously skirting past local laws and regulations, but at least one state’s finally forcing the company to pay up.

On Tuesday, Uber agreed to pay New Jersey $100 million in back taxes over claims the company misclassified thousands of drivers as independent contractors between 2014-2018. That mischaracterization, according to an audit conducted by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, may have prevented thousands of workers from being able to receive critical resources like unemployment, disability and family leave insurance. Though narrowly focused on New Jersey workers, the payout potentially marks an inflection point for drivers across the country who’ve, for years, refuted Uber’s labeling of them as so-called “gig workers.”

“We will not tolerate companies that misclassify their workers, thereby denying employees vital benefits and dodging their obligation to contribute to programs that benefit the workforce,” New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a statement. “By misclassifying workers, companies both harm their employees and sidestep their obligations under the law. New Jersey will continue to enforce our employee misclassification laws aggressively to prevent such conduct.  As the economy changes, we will vigorously defend workers’ rights.”

The $100 million fine reportedly represents the largest of its kind ever recorded in New Jersey but it could have actually been much larger. The original Department of Labor audit sought over $1 billion worth of back taxes when it first fined the company in 2019 according to documents sent to Gizmodo by Uber. In total, the agency originally claimed Uber and Raiser (an Uber subsidiary) owed $522 million and $528 million, respectively. In hindsight, the Department of Labor says those figures were “rough estimates based on incomplete data.” Uber ultimately agreed to pay $12.1 million while Raiser paid $88 million.

Despite agreeing to the fine, Uber said it did not amount to a settlement. Uber’s also sticking to its guns on the gig work classification lingo.

“Drivers in New Jersey and nationally are independent contractors who work when and where they want—an overwhelming amount do this kind of work because they value flexibility,” Uber said in a statement sent to Gizmodo. “We look forward to working with policymakers to deliver benefits while preserving the flexibility drivers want.”

Robert Asaro-Angelo, New Jersey’s Labor Commissioner, forcefully disagreed with that position in a statement.

“Let’s be clear: there is no reason temporary, or on-demand workers who work flexible hours, or even minutes at a time can’t be treated like other employees in New Jersey or any other state,” Asaro-Angelo said. “We will not bow to the whims of corporations’ latest business models that are based on eroding long-standing protections.”

New Jersey’s historic fine comes as other states around the country grapple with legislation aimed at combating, or in some cases, facilitating, the gig work economy. In 2020, California narrowly passed a controversial gig-company-backed ballot initiative called Proposition 22 which sought to roll back labor laws requiring companies like Uber to classify workers as employees. Uber, Lyft, Doordash and similar companies created the initiative and reportedly spent more than $200 million to push forward the measure. Luckily for the state’s gig workers, a California judge struck down the proposal last year on constitutional grounds.

Unconstitutional or not, that hasn’t stopped other states from attempting to create their own legislation modeled after Prop 22 though so far, those have yet to truly materialize. Earlier this year, gig work companies reportedly spent $17.8 million to pass a ballot initiative in Massachusetts which would have formally classified gig workers as independent contractors instead of employees. That initiative fell flat after the state’s Supreme Court ruled the proposal unconstitutional, due in part to its “vaguely worded provisions.” In other states like New York, however, gig work companies are taking a sneakier approach and are reportedly negotiating with major labor unions to let workers organize for certain issues like minimum pay, but under the formal classification of independent contractors.

Now, with Uber licking its wounds in New Jersey, the state ecosystem once deemed ripe for gig company interference suddenly seems less vulnerable. Other states less sympathetic to gig work’s underlying business model could potentially follow New Jersey’s lead, which would create a massive headache for dozens of companies relying on mischaracterized labor. More critically, aggressive regulatory actions from states could put some money and resources back into the pockets of gig workers. Around 16% of U.S. adults surveyed by Pew Research last year said they earned money through some type of gig platform.

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