DoorDash and Dashers Battling Over Low Paying Orders

There seems to be a battle raging between DoorDash and their Dashers (couriers). Some of it is public, some is behind the scenes. Senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins dives into these issues as well as other delivery news that launched this week.

DoorDash Drivers Game Algorithm to Increase Pay [Bloomberg]

Summary: Dave Levy and Nikos Kanelopoulos are trying to beat the algorithm. The two DoorDash drivers—Dashers, as the company calls them—are trying to persuade their peers to turn down the lowest-paying deliveries so the automated system for matching jobs with drivers will respond by raising pay rates. “Every app-based on-demand company’s objective is to constantly shift profits from the driver back to the company,” Levy says. “Our objective is the reverse of that.”

Their main tool is #DeclineNow, a 40,000-person online forum that provides a view into a type of labor activism tailored for the gig economy. While there’s no reliable way to quantify its impact, #DeclineNow’s members say they’ve already increased pay for workers across the country, including in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, where Levy and Kanelopoulos live. But the effort raises difficult questions about the nature of collective action, and there are reasons to doubt whether using a company’s own software systems against it is a strategy that can prove effective for a sustained period of time….

My Take: This isn’t really something new. Dashers on Reddit have been posting for months about how everyone should decline low paying orders. One popular idea is “No tip, no trip.” I don’t believe Dashers are able to see if an order includes a tip up front, but they can gather that there’s no tip if their estimated earnings are low enough.

When this article was posted on Reddit, commenters took charge. One highly upvoted response said, “Just saw this on Twitter. I’ve already been doing this. I won’t take anything less than $7. Hope this catches on though.”

In a second post, the OP suggests that DoorDash has come up with a scheme to increase Dashers’ acceptance rate.

One poster indicated they are afraid this acceptance rate deal is DoorDash’s way of getting back at the drivers trying to game the algorithm. The gist of the Dasher’s complaint? Snitches can ruin it for everyone. Instead of complaining about the low rates and publicizing the decline movement… just do it and don’t ruin it for everyone else.

Another person explained the acceptance rate change that the original poster was talking about:

“They’re thinking of hiding all tips from Dashers. From my understanding, all orders will show up as $3 until you have made the delivery. At which point, you’ll either be pleasantly surprised by the tip you receive or go on a murderous rampage because you aren’t earning enough money to pay for your car, let alone food and bills.

If they implement this I’ll either no longer do DoorDash or I’ll only accept deliveries that are less than a mile and start cycling instead. Bikes aren’t allowed in my zone, but DoorDash will have to let it slide.”

Another person mentioned this is a good reason to have multiple apps available to you. If one starts doing something you don’t like, then you have the option to stop using that app and work for someone else.

I agree with the person who said it’s great to game the system, but don’t shout about it. Letting the person who pays you know that you’re not following the rules they want you to follow never goes well. “What they don’t know, won’t hurt ‘em.”

Want to diversify which companies you deliver for? We highly recommend signing up for Instacart, which has some of the highest earnings among the top food delivery companies.

Instacart study shows six ways pandemic food shopping changed [Produce Blue Book]

Summary: Instacart, the leading online grocery platform in North America, today released “Beyond the Cart: A Year of Essential Insights,” a new report highlighting how the pandemic has transformed 100 years of grocery habits through the lens of six trends from the past year that are shaping the future of online grocery shopping.

The report combines an in-depth look at data from Instacart along with insights from a new Instacart survey of 2,038 U.S. adults conducted recently online by The Harris Poll.

In the report, Instacart analysts looked to search, purchase and in-app chat data to gauge the national mood and understand how familial relationships, internal clocks, household domestic roles, shopping schedules, and shopping lists are shifting as the world inches toward post-pandemic life….

My Take: Nothing in the study is all that surprising, but it is interesting to note that: “According to the Harris Poll data of those who bought groceries online during the pandemic, 77% indicated they are likely to continue doing so in the future.”

77% is a high number. I know I prefer ordering online just because I don’t like hustling through a crowded grocery store and I hate shopping. But, with the added fees for delivery and paying a tip every time, it’s not exactly the most affordable way to go. That’s why the 77% surprises me so much. That’s a lot of people who won’t be ordering online out of necessity but just for ease of use.

Instacart and DoorDash plan to launch their own credit cards [WSJ]

Summary: Two of the biggest winners in the pandemic delivery boom are looking to launch their own credit cards.

Grocery-delivery service Instacart Inc. has chosen JPMorgan Chase & Co. to issue a credit card that will reward frequent users, according to people familiar with the matter. DoorDash Inc., which specializes in delivering takeout, is also looking to launch its own rewards credit card and received offers from more than 10 large banks and financial-technology firms to issue it, people familiar with the matter said.

Both Instacart and DoorDash have benefited from the surging popularity of at-home delivery for groceries and meals. They are betting that at least some of the increased demand will remain after the pandemic ends and hoping that the cards will stoke customer loyalty and attract new users….

My Take: This is….interesting. Personally, I have credit cards that reward me for ordering online and give me cash back for my restaurant and grocery purchases, so I don’t see myself switching to a DoorDash or Instacart card to get rewards or bonuses through that.

I’m sure these will be successful as there are several people who are loyal to these services and use them and them alone and would benefit from any kind of rewards offered.

98.3 TRY Social Dilemma: Would You Let the GrubHub Driver Use Your Bathroom? [News 10]

Summary: Wednesday’s 98.3 TRY Social Dilemma came from Samantha and is one that is very realistic in this day and age. Here’s the email:

“Hi Jaime,

I did something the other day that had my friends questioning my sanity so I thought it would be a good social dilemma. I live by myself and since the pandemic happened, I have found myself ordering lots of food to go. Sometimes I’ll pick it up, but a lot of the time I use apps like GrubHub or Uber Eats or Mealeo. Anyway, the other day I ordered food from a great Mexican restaurant that I love through GrubHub. The driver rang the doorbell and when I went to get my food, which is usually just left on the doorstep so that no one has to wear a mask, the driver was still there. So I grabbed a mask and opened the door. It was a young woman who very nicely asked me if she could use my bathroom. She said she had been delivering food non stop for several hours and hadn’t had a chance to go anywhere. I thought about it for a minute, and I let her come in and use it. She was in and out in two minutes. Not a big deal. However in telling my friends, they thought I was crazy to let her in. So like I said, a good social dilemma. Would you let her in to use your bathroom? I’ll be listening.



My Take: While this isn’t really news per se, I think it’s an interesting dilemma to discuss. We’ve all been there…you drank too much pop or coffee and don’t have a restroom in sight. You’re dropping off the food at your customer’s door and you can’t hold it a second longer. Do you ask to use their bathroom? Would you let a delivery person use your bathroom if the roles were reversed?

I would go with my gut instincts based on the interaction. I don’t think I could throw a blanket out and say I’d allow all delivery drivers or no delivery drivers in to use my bathroom. I do feel like in some instances I would allow it and others where I wouldn’t.

Bonus Content: Maximum Delivery Profits course for drivers

Summary: The Rideshare Guy has created a course geared toward delivery drivers, focusing on how to maximize your profits—including ways to increase your tips, filing your taxes and more. It’s called Maximum Delivery Profits.

When you order before the launch date of April 12, you can reserve the course for $49. On the launch date and after, the online course will cost $69. Enroll now!

My Take: I got sneak peek access to this course. The instructor Elijah Bilel goes in depth on all topics related to delivery. With his experience on the road with multiple apps, you know you’re in good hands when following his advice.

Group ride start-up Swoop wins contract to provide transportation for 2022 Super Bowl as events come back [CNBC]

Summary: Group ride start-up Swoop won a contract with the NFL to provide transportation for the 2022 Super Bowl in Los Angeles, including shuttling guests to the field and providing VIP transportation…

Editor’s Note: This is pretty great news from one of our favorite group ride companies, Swoop. It’s been a tough year for travel, group travel, group rides, etc. and this is a huge deal for Swoop – what’s better than providing transportation during Super Bowl events?

The deal is said to be worth more than $1 million, according to Swoop co-founder Ruben Schultz. Take a listen to Harry’s interview with Ruben Schultz here, and if you’re not familiar with Swoop, take a look at our Swoop article here.

Readers, what do you think of this week’s roundup?

-Paula @ RSG