How Does DoorDash Work for Restaurants?

Explore the journey of a delivery order and understand how DoorDash works for restaurants.

5 min read
Portillo's Picking Up

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?

When hungry customers are ready to place a delivery order, they can 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 deliveries and get restaurant-quality food without leaving their couches. 

Once the customer chooses a restaurant, they place their order, pay for it right in the app, 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. At DoorDash, restaurants have four options for their order protocol.

Option 1: Use a tablet

If you have your own Android 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 30 days, then $6 per week in the U.S., $3 per week in Canada, and $0 per week in Australia.

Order Manager confirmation

Option 2: Use the DoorDash POS integration

Another great option to maximize your efficiency is to integrate 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.

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 to access and build many types of 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

5 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 marketing promotions to take your off-premise business to the next level. For example, our most popular promotion, Try Me Free, helps you attract new customers with free delivery on their first order. With Order Again and Save, you can offer discounts to loyal regulars and get prime placement on their home screen. 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.

Delivery, simplified

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. Ready to get started? Become a DoorDash partner today.

*Financial reports only available in the U.S. at this time.

**DoorDash Marketing promotions and DashPass is available to businesses in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


Sara DeForest

Sara DeForest


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