DoorDash’s breakneck expansion across the U.S. continues this week, with the the third-party delivery service announcing an exclusive deal with casual dining chain Chili’s.
According to a press release sent via email, the partnership takes effect immediately at over 1,000 participating Chili’s restaurants in the U.S.
Chili’s, who is something of a poster child for the fast-casual American dining scene, has been vetting third-party delivery services for some time. At the end of April, the company said it was looking for a delivery partner that could adequately cover the suburban markets, where Chili’s has a substantial presence. In that light, DoorDash seems the obvious pick, as it currently holds 30 percent of the market share in sales and is the only third-party delivery company currently operating in all 50 U.S. states (as well as in 50 Canadian cities).
But DoorDash’s ability to integrate with Chili’s existing POS system might have been the real determining factor. Chili’s, along with its parent company, Brinker Internatoinal, has been skeptical about third-party delivery services overall. Brinker CEO Wyman Roberts said back in January that his company was “. . . cautious on business model implications and significant fees, but more importantly, the impact it has on our systems isn’t great.” In the same interview, Roberts added that, “From a technology standpoint, given that so many of these third parties are really priding themselves on being experts, we’re challenging them to integrate better.”
Integrating DoorDash directly into the restaurant chain’s POS system means all DoorDash orders are sent directly to Chili’s, without a server needing to manually input the information. As well, a direct integration means it’s easier and faster for Chili’s to onboard more of its locations onto this new delivery program.
This ability to integrate almost seamlessly into existing restaurant systems may be key for third-party services in future as they rush to gain and retain customers. All of the top services — Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates along with DoorDash — offer POS integration capabilities. The question at this point appears to be more around who can offer it at the best price point for restaurants, and do so without introducing a lot of disruption to day-to-day operations. Might operational efficiency be yet-another area in which DoorDash can stand out?
DoorDash raised another $600 million in funding this past May, bringing the company’s total funding to $2 billion. This came on the heels of a $400 million Series F round raised in February of 2019. DoorDash has also said that since that Series F round, its business has grown 60 percent. Pair those numbers with the company’s continued and aggressive push across North America, as well as high-profile restaurant partnerships like the Chili’s deal, and there’s reason to suspect the company could be well on its way to nabbing the top spot in the market for third-party delivery.