Jan 27, 2021 Merchant

Expanding Our Main Street Strong Program to Further Empower Restaurants

Last year, we announced our Main Street Strong winter grant program, which initially allocated $2 million to small restaurants across Chicago, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Jose as they confronted the challenges wrought by COVID-19 during the cold weather months. In mid-November, DoorDash announced that as part of our five-year, $200 million Main Street Strong Pledge to empower local communities, we would be expanding that grant program to $10 million. Today, we are pleased to announce the details of the expanded Main Street Strong COVID-19 relief grant program.

Grants will be administered by Hello Alice and will be available in a number of cities, counties and states across the United States and Canada:

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland
  • Erie County and Monroe County, New York
  • Rochester and St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Sacramento and San Diego, California

Any restaurant that applies will receive free access to the Hello Alice platform, which offers peer-to-peer networking, mentorship, and tools such as the COVID-19 Restaurant Resource Center, a curated list of industry-specific resources, information from fellow restaurant and food service owners about the challenges they’re facing, and how-to guides designed to help restaurants reopen the doors and get back to business.

During the first round of DoorDash’s Main Street Strong COVID-19 relief restaurant grants, 85% of restaurants stated that one of the biggest impacts on their business was reduced sales due to COVID restrictions, and 82% cited lost revenue attributed to the declining economy. As a direct response to what we’re hearing from restaurant partners, these grants are designed to help offset the costs associated with running a restaurant amidst the ongoing pandemic, restaurant closures, and local indoor and outdoor dining restrictions. Grants can be used to cover operating costs during this challenging time, including rent, payroll, purchasing PPE, expanding outdoor dining capacity, and other expenses.

“Like so many restaurants, we are in the perfect storm – reduced revenue, added pandemic-related costs, and the need to invest in innovation in order to persevere. We are so grateful for this grant and for DoorDash’s commitment to helping independent restaurants like ours continue to be a strong part of our communities.” – Dario Monni & Jill Gray, owners of Tortello in Chicago, a Main Street Strong grant recipient.

“The pandemic created challenges and we’ve worked hard to implement necessary changes, such as investing in take out, delivery, and outdoor seating. We continue to be focused on ways to serve customers, maintain and grow our sales, and keep our team safe. We’re grateful to DoorDash for standing with us by providing this grant. It’s been a challenging time, but I’m confident there are better times to come, as we continue to work together and serve our community.” – Doris Lopez, Owner, Cielito Lindo Restaurant in San Jose, a Main Street Strong grant recipient.

In the U.S., Hello Alice will manage the application and selection processes as well as the distribution of funds. In Canada, funds will be distributed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Grant recipients will be selected based on criteria set out in the application, and a process intended to help ensure equal access to funds and eliminate selection bias.* Applications are available today through February 17th, 2021, and selected restaurants will be notified by March 1, 2021. Hello Alice will begin grant distribution in March, with all restaurants receiving their grant by early May. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce will distribute grants by early April. Eligible restaurants must be located in a city listed above, have 3 stores or fewer currently operating; $3 million USD/CAD or less in 2019 annual revenue per store; and employ 50 people or fewer per store. Restaurants do not need to be on the DoorDash platform to be eligible.

“We’re thrilled to work with DoorDash in its Main Street Strong Pledge,” said Elizabeth Gore, Co-Founder and President of Hello Alice. “Small businesses play a great role in our economy, both locally and nationally, and have been severely impacted by COVID-19. This funding can make a world of difference for owners in these trying times and we look forward to contributing to their continued success.”

In addition to the direct grant programs in cities, DoorDash has also made contributions to statewide restaurant relief funds in Colorado, Texas, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Finally, we’re excited to announce that with the reopening of the Payment Protection Program (PPP), we have extended our previous partnership with BlueVine, a leading provider of small business banking solutions and an official direct non-bank PPP lender, to make PPP loans more accessible to both First Draw and Second Draw merchant partner applicants. We’re proud that in the first round, we helped nearly 200 merchants receive over $6 million in PPP loans. Customers who received a First Draw through our partnership aren’t required to submit new payroll documents if their payroll expenses remain unchanged and their requested loan amount is under $150,000. This means a faster and simpler application for Second Draw PPP merchant partners.

Our restaurant partners have faced unprecedented challenges this year, and we are proud to support them as we help them thrive in the new normal. It is our hope that these efforts will help support our restaurant partners as they continue to navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis and we look forward to announcing additional initiatives in the coming months.


Official Rules available here.