With delivery, it’s easy to forget there are human beings behind the food you just ordered with the push of a button. DoorDash wants to change that by reminding us of the stories behind your Tuesday night dinner.
Today the third-party food delivery service announced Kitchens Without Borders, an initiative that supports restaurants founded by immigrants and refugees. The goal is to highlight the entrepreneurs’ stories behind these businesses while also building awareness for what are often resourced-strapped businesses.
Kitchens Without Borders will kick off in the San Francisco Bay Area, DoorDash’s hometown. The service will give 10 immigrant- or refugee-owned restaurants credits for free delivery for up to six weeks, extra marketing and promotional opportunities, increased visibility on the DoorDash site, and a spot in a video mini-series that looks at the backstory of each business. The videos are available on the Kitchens Without Borders website.
The initiative comes at a time when political debate around immigration is hotly debated, and one’s Twitter feed might lead them to believe the American Dream is as dead as the VHS machine. But DoorDash CEO and cofounder Tony Xu clearly believes otherwise: “DoorDash’s mission has always been to connect people with possibility by creating valuable opportunities for entrepreneurs to reach new audiences,” he wrote in a blog post published this morning. “For immigrant communities facing heightened barriers to success, that goal has become even more important — and for me, it’s at the heart of the company’s story.”
Xu himself is an immigrant, having moved to the U.S. from China at age five. Working in his mother’s Chinese restaurant, which she ran in order to save enough money to go become a doctor, Xu “saw firsthand what it takes to make it in this country.”
Now, Xu and DoorDash want to highlight other stories of people working to make it in a country. DoorDash’s first round of Kitchens Without Borders profiles immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs from Chile, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Turkey, Sudan, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Mexico, and Japan, highlighting their backstories as well as relevant business information. Restaurants include Besharam, ZZoul Cafe, Onigilly, LosCilantros, Sabores Del Sur, WestParkFarm&Sea, Little Green Cyclo, Afghan Village, D’Maize, and Sweet LimeThai Cuisine. All restaurants are based in the SF Bay Area.
According to the press release, DoorDash expand Kitchens Without Borders to other cities in future. Given that the third-party delivery service is now in over 3,300 cities across the U.S. and Canada, there are a lot of potential customers out there for the companies chosen. More importantly, there are a lot of opportunities to share with audiences what seems like the real message behind the initiative: that the “American Dream” isn’t dead (regardless of what your newsfeed tells you), and there are a lot of people in this country still working hard to inch closer to it.