Jul 29, 2021 Merchant

Introducing DoorDash Kitchens Full Service, a New Partnership Model for Restaurants To Grow Their Business from the Redwood City and San Jose Kitchens

At DoorDash, we’re always exploring new innovations and opportunities with restaurant partners to help them grow their on- and off-premises business. We’ve worked with several local restaurants to help them expand through delivery-forward kitchen models, whether helping them set up operations in their own delivery kitchens, opening a new location in our Redwood City kitchen, or helping restaurants such as Krazy Hog BBQ in Chicago reopen their doors after closing during the pandemic. We’ve witnessed, especially over the past year, the power that delivery-only models and kitchens can have in helping local partners succeed as off-premises operations become an important part of their business.

Back in 2019, we originally launched our own kitchen facility, DoorDash Kitchens, with the goal of helping partners expand their geographic footprint in new markets and reach new customers with lower overhead costs. Since then, we learned that many restaurants need more than just help with the upfront real estate costs — and are looking for even less expensive and operationally intensive options to open a new location.

With this in mind, we’re now exploring a new partnership opportunity, DoorDash Kitchens Full Service, which provides restaurants operating from a DoorDash Kitchens location with a new way to grow their business without the operational and economic investment of opening a brick-and-mortar store. Full Service can be a flexible and cost-efficient opportunity for restaurants to test new markets as DoorDash takes on many of the tasks associated with opening and operating a storefront such as hiring, meal prep, procuring equipment and sourcing ingredients.

“Our SF-homegrown brand has been serving up delicious Korean comfort food for almost 10 years, and we have been so honored by the reception in our city — now I want to see if our concept is liked in other cities,” said Charlie Kim, owner of Aria Korean Street Food. “San Francisco has high rent, and it’s hard for a small business to add more locations. We’ve experimented with other delivery-only operations but it was operationally burdensome to produce a quality of food we hold ourselves to and market the new location. With this new partnership, DoorDash Kitchens helped out with operations, data, and marketing power saving us the time and money. We’ve been excited by the early reception in the community!”

Here’s how it works:

  • Hiring: Depending on the facility, DoorDash either hires cooks or partners with a culinary operator, such as A La Couch, to staff the facility. DoorDash also hires managers for each of its facilities and front of house staff to supervise delivery and pickup orders.
  • Training: Each restaurant will be actively engaged in determining the optimum menu for each location and will be part of training sessions to ensure DoorDash Kitchens staff are making high-quality food expected of a brick and mortar. Partners will also provide a list of ingredients and preferred sourcers to ensure consistency with other stores’ menus. Over the course of a few weeks, everything from plating to packaging to cooking takes place together — with several tastings in between.
  • Day-To-Day: DoorDash will manage the day to day of the operations of the facility. Restaurant partners will receive a portion of the revenue in return, creating a light-touch growth opportunity. Where it makes sense, some partners may choose to sell their products wholesale to DoorDash.

Our collective priority is to ensure that we have the best people executing the menu and vision set out by our partners to help them grow their businesses, and we have partnered closely with each partner along the way in order to deliver a high brand quality out of our kitchens. At DoorDash, we’ve established a culinary team to support our partners’ brands led by Chef Carl Bertka, former head of culinary development at Ruby Tuesday and former pastry chef at Gordon Ramsay at the London. The culinary team has a mix of fine dining, casual dining, corporate foodservice, and catering experience, in order to handle all of our brands’ cuisine types and operating needs, and work closely with partners throughout the process.

Currently we are operating this model out of a new DoorDash Kitchens San Jose facility and for certain brands in the Redwood City DoorDash Kitchens location. We are excited to provide residents of South Bay access to restaurants from San Francisco and beyond for the first time.

Operating closely with restaurants at DoorDash Kitchens in Redwood City over the past year reinforced how new kitchen models can complement a restaurant’s operations. But it also taught us that the traditional delivery-only kitchen model may not work for every restaurant. With Full Service, we’ve taken several learnings from Redwood City in order to always improve upon our mission. We started DoorDash Kitchens to help our partners thrive and we are excited to continue iterating on that promise to adapt to the needs of today’s merchants and beyond.