How Does DoorDash Work for Restaurants?

Explore the journey of a delivery order and how exactly DoorDash works for restaurants in 2024.

10 min read
Customer pickup orders kitchen bags

Restaurant managers have many questions to consider when partnering with a technology platform like DoorDash — from updating your menu to purchasing takeout containers to snapping mouthwatering food photos. But the choice that likely has the biggest impact on the day-to-day DoorDash delivery process is the order protocol — that is, how restaurants receive DoorDash orders. 

In this article, we'll explore the journey of a DoorDash order to highlight how DoorDash works for restaurants. Learn more in the DoorDash Product Guide for Merchants.

How do customers place DoorDash orders?

Restaurants can grow online with DoorDash by driving more sales on the app and through their own website, using Delivery, Pickup, and DashPass to unlock the active (and hungry) customer base.

When customers are ready to place an order on Marketplace, they browse restaurants on the DoorDash app or website. Customers can search for their favorite establishments, or filter restaurants by cuisine, location, promotions and more. They enjoy the ease and convenience of browsing thousands of restaurants in a single app, as well as the ability to track orders and get restaurant-quality food anytime, anywhere.

Customers can also place orders through Storefront, an online ordering system that gives restaurants direct, commission-free orders through their website, social media, and Google Search & Maps. There is no monthly software fee for Storefront; instead, businesses pay payment card processing fees of 1.75% of the total transaction amount + AU$0.30 per order. On pickup orders there are no other fees. On delivery orders, you pay AU$5.50 per delivery to DoorDash to fund the cost of a Dasher delivering the order.

Once the customer chooses a restaurant, they place their order, pay for it on the app or online, and receive an estimated delivery time. That's when restaurants receive the order via their chosen order protocol. 

How do restaurants receive DoorDash orders?

The order protocol is the way that restaurants receive orders from DoorDash. Restaurants can choose to receive orders on the device of their choice to maximize their off-premise efficiency. Storefront orders are processed in the same way as Marketplace orders. Restaurants have two options for their DoorDash order protocol.

Option 1: Use the POS integration

Maximize efficiency by integrating DoorDash with your point of sale (POS) system or aggregator. DoorDash integrates with leading POS and technology systems, including Square, Toast, Deliverect, ItsaCheckmate, Redcat and many more.

This allows you to receive DoorDash orders directly to your POS system and then straight to your kitchen, which reduces the risk of human error. DoorDash also has an open API which enables partners to build integrations to manage their menu, store, and order data.

Option 2: Use a tablet

You can download the DoorDash Order Manager app, our all-in-one tool for receiving, organizing, and tracking pickup and delivery orders. DoorDash can also provide a tablet for you for a small weekly fee. Just order it by contacting support or choosing the option when signing up for DoorDash.

With the Order Manager app, restaurant operators can adjust prices and menu items in real time, including deactivating (and reactivating) specific items that are out of stock. The Order Manager app also helps restaurant managers coordinate with Dashers, prepare for large scheduled orders, pause orders when it gets too busy, and contact both the customer and DoorDash support. 

When a customer places a DoorDash order, you will receive a notification on the Order Manager app allowing you to quickly and efficiently process orders. Just be sure your tablet volume is on loud and the device is placed somewhere that is easily accessible by staff.

tablet order notification

Touch the screen to view the order and identify any issues, then click "Confirm" once you send the order to the kitchen to be prepared. You'll then be prompted to either choose a prep time for the order so that DoorDash can assign a Dasher and pickup time, or move forward with an automated prep time from the app.

tablet order confirmation

How much does using a tablet cost? 

Restaurants can choose to download the Order Manager app on their own Android tablet for free, or use a DoorDash tablet with the Order Manager app pre-installed for free for the length of their free trial, then $6 per week in the US, $3 per week in Canada, and $0 per week in Australia and New Zealand.

Order Manager confirmation

Can DoorDash merchants pause orders?

Yes, DoorDash partners can pause orders at any time on the tablet, in the Merchant Portal, or on the Business Manager App.

You can also indicate that your store is busy, letting customers know to expect longer prep times.

Bonus: Business Manager App

Download the Business Manager App on the App Store or Google Play Store to manage your restaurant on the go. The Business Manager app makes it easy to track orders and review performance, all from your phone. Monitor a Dasher's location, access 24/7 support, mark items out of stock, update store hours, get analytics, and more from the app.

How do restaurants monitor their DoorDash performance?

Use the Merchant Portal on desktop or Business Manager App on mobile to access and build reports. Filter by time (monthly, weekly, daily), store (if you have multiple stores with DoorDash), or order.

  • Sales reports: Understand sales, average ticket size, and total orders comparing by product (DoorDash, Storefront, DashPass, Pickup), new vs. return customers, and more.

  • Operations reports: Understand order accuracy, cancellations, wait time, downtime, ratings, and product mix.

  • Financials reports: Understand specific orders, subtotal, commission, error charges, fees, and estimated payout per transaction and over time.*

report builder merchant portal

Tips for successful delivery operations

1. Ensure your food items travel well

To increase the efficiency of your takeout operations, create a streamlined menu featuring a few key items. While you want to include your popular items, prioritize food that will not be a soggy mess by the time it arrives at the customer's home. Take steps to ensure your food travels well, such as packaging sauces separately, placing hot and cold items in separate bags, and piercing hot food containers for ventilation. Dashers will transport your dishes with care in insulated food delivery bags that maintain both hot and cold food temperatures.

2. Optimize your menu for profitability

Update your menu to focus on higher-margin items, best-sellers and dishes that can be prepped in advance to ensure an efficient and profitable off-premise operation. You can also encourage upsells by offering add-ons such as protein to toppings to salads, bowls, burgers, and more.

3. Keep a close eye on incoming orders

For restaurants not using the POS integration, it's helpful to have an expo or another staff member watch orders come in via your chosen order protocol. That way, they can make sure new orders are quickly entered into your POS and sent to your kitchen for preparation. 

4. Explore DoorDash promotions and products

When you join DoorDash, you get access to a range of Promotions to take your business to the next level. For example, our most popular promotion, $0 Delivery Fee, helps you attract new customers with free delivery on their first order. Sponsored Listings are ads that are featured in highly visible places in DoorDash, like the homepage and the top of relevant search results. And with any ad or promotion, you’ll only be charged for orders placed through the ad — not for clicks or impressions. Restaurants can also join DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service that caters to our most frequent consumers.**

5. Set up smooth Dasher hand-offs

Once the item is ready to be delivered, select a spot in your restaurant where Dashers can quickly pick up orders without disrupting operations. The DoorDash app enables you to track orders in real time, so you'll know exactly when they're delivered to happy customers. Learn more about how restaurants can optimize the Dasher pickup experience.

6. Get the most out of DoorDash

Going online with your business can be overwhelming when you’re unsure where to start. With the help of the Learning Center, you have access to comprehensive, step-by-step guides on how to set up, run, and grow your store. These can be viewed on all devices including mobiles, tablets, or desktops, making it easy to increase profits and find new customers.

Get your restaurant on DoorDash

You don't need a complete overhaul of your restaurant when it comes to delivery — that's why DoorDash offers a variety of protocols to seamlessly integrate with the technology, supplies, and staff you already have. Have more questions? Visit our FAQ to get them answered.

Now is the time to try DoorDash for your restaurant — and you can do so with a free trial with 0% commissions.


Sara DeForest
Sara DeForest


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