Technology

DoorDash says it's getting more affordable

The third-party delivery company has reduced customer fees by 12% over the past two years. But delivery still remains far more expensive than carryout.
DoorDash sticker on a door
The company said it has lowered fees to make delivery more accessible to consumers. | Photo: Shutterstock

While restaurant menu prices continue to climb, DoorDash says its prices are going down.

The third-party delivery company said it has reduced fees by 12% over the past two years for customers who aren’t part of its DashPass subscription program. 

That includes the service fees, delivery fees, small order and legislative fees that it tacks onto customers’ bills. The fees help DoorDash cover its operating costs and typically add a significant sum to the order total.

In a blog post in March, the company said it was lowering those fees to make its service more accessible for consumers as the cost of living rises.

A spokesperson said in an email that DoorDash has been able to lower fees because it has gotten more efficient. For instance, the company reported last week that its delivery times and accuracy rates have improved significantly. 

The fee reduction came during a period in what menu price inflation increased by double digits. In March, food-away-from-home prices were more than 12% higher than they were two years ago, when DoorDash began rolling back its charges, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Receipts analyzed by Restaurant Business show that DoorDash order totals have lagged the pace of restaurant price inflation. In some cases, lower fees have actually brought the total price down. 

For instance, a DoorDash delivery from Chick-fil-A in Chicago cost $23.27, with tip, in February 2021. Three years later, it had increased just 0.77%, to $23.45. 

The increase came entirely from higher menu prices at Chick-fil-A, as DoorDash’s fees, plus tax and the same tip, came in 25% lower in 2024 compared to 2021.

A delivery from Wingstop in Los Angeles last April cost $36.10. This April, it was $33.75, thanks to a 17% decrease in fees, tax and tip.

Of course, those prices are still far more than what it would cost for a customer to go get the food themselves. The same Chick-fil-A order rings up at $11.98 today when ordered for pickup on the brand’s website, a difference of nearly 48%. The Wingstop order, meanwhile, costs $18.03, a difference of 47%.

And the lower fees have not excused DoorDash from scrutiny at the highest levels. Last month, three U.S. senators sent letters to DoorDash and Uber Eats criticizing their fees and asking for more information about how the proceeds are used. 

Nonetheless, customers continue to order DoorDash in greater numbers. In the first quarter, total orders increased 21% year over year, to 620 million, a new record, and marketplace gross order volume grew 23%, to $19.2 billion, also a new record.

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