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Dash away, dash away, dash away all

Delivery service Door Dash stays busy in FD

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Door Dashers Malerie Morales, LaDonna Boughton and Ryan Davis, all of Fort Dodge, hold their DoorDash delivery bags. Davis has been driving for DoorDash since July, while Boughton and Morales started in October.

Ryan Davis, of Fort Dodge, started driving for DoorDash, a mobile food order delivery service, in July to be able to spend more time with his grandmother, who was ill.

Davis also owns First Source Cellular and being in the store all day kept him away from his grandmother at home. He heard about DoorDash coming to Fort Dodge over the summer and decided to apply to be a driver to have a more flexible source of income while he took care of his grandmother.

“I needed to be at home most of the time with her, so DoorDash allowed me to be with her — my phone beeps, I get an order, I go pick it up and then I’m home,” he said. “It allowed me to spend more time with her.”

Davis adds that while driving for DoorDash — what the company calls being a “Dasher” — isn’t a get rich quick scheme.

“My first week, I made $3.95,” he said.

The delivery service is great for people who are busy or have lack of transportation, Davis said.

“When you’re working and you’re not at home and you didn’t have a chance to cook, DoorDash is great for you,” he said.

A Dasher’s average number of deliveries can vary greatly depending on weather, the day of the week or events that are going around town, Dasher Malerie Morales, of Fort Dodge, said.

“During special events like Girls State Softball, I had 50 in one day,” Davis added.

Morales started Dashing in October.

“I wanted to add a little extra income in my free time,” she said. “And now I’m sticking with it because I enjoy getting to know a lot of people in Fort Dodge.”

LaDonna Boughton, of Fort Dodge, also started with DoorDash in October to supplement her income with work that isn’t very strenuous.

“I have a lot of medical and physical issues that make it difficult for me to work,” she said.

For Davis, he keeps working as a Dasher because he enjoys meeting new people and seeing his regular customers, he said.

Worldwide, DoorDash has more than 700,000 Dashers and 310,000 merchant partners in 4,000 cities in all 50 United States, as well as in Canada and Australia.

Currently, DoorDash service is available to 80% of Americans, the company said. The service first came to Fort Dodge in June.

DoorDash’s mission is to empower local economies, said Brooke Segaran, head of U.S. regional merchant strategy and partnerships with DoorDash. The company aims to enable businesses to support and streamline business operations and help increase sales and engage new customers.

“And we see a huge opportunity in cities like Fort Dodge to connect local restaurants — from our national partners to the independently-owned local favorites — with even more customers through our on-demand platform,” Segaran said. “As we grow our presence in Fort Dodge and surrounding communities, we look forward to starting new partnerships with the restaurants and businesses that make the city unique.”

According to DoorDash, based on customer orders, Fort Dodge’s favorite cuisine is Chinese, followed by American. The city’s top orders for lunch and dinner are fries, crab rangoons, egg rolls and pot stickers.

Several Fort Dodge restaurants are on the DoorDash app, both national chains like McDonald’s or Burger King, and locally-owned establishments like Hunan King and Lomita’s Mexican Restaurant.

New restaurants are frequently being added to the app.

Davis said he’s trying to work with the company to expand the delivery area around Fort Dodge to include the industrial parks just outside the city, like the Valero Renewables and Cargill ethanol plants west of town.

Dan Billingsley, owner of Sneakers Eatery and Pub, likes that his customers are able to order from his restaurant through the DoorDash app.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “I get the sale and I don’t have to send one of my staff out to deliver it.”

While Sneakers does have its own delivery service, Billingsley said DoorDash helps supplement that because the Sneakers delivery is limited to certain times of the day. It’s also more convenient for some customers, he said.

“A lot of people, they don’t like to pick up the phone and make a call,” Billingsley said. “It’s easier to just pick up their device and do it on the app. I think that’s where the flexibility of DoorDash comes in and why it’s a good thing and the new technology that we have around is great — you can just grab your phone, touch an app and get your order.”

Class Kramer, of Fort Dodge, likes the variety of cuisines that DoorDash has to offer.

“I like that I am not stuck with ordering just pizza for delivery, but I have more options now,” she said.

In her experience, Kramer said most of the Dashers that she’s interacted with are great, but she’s also had an order that was delivered late and cold.

Overall, Kramer appreciates the convenience of ordering from DoorDash for when she’s unable to get away from work for lunch, but she does have some reservations about the price.

“The downside is ordering an $8 food order from Wendy’s and it ultimately costs about $20 by the time you pay fees and tip,” she said.

Davis, Morales and Boughton are very concerned with their customers’ satisfaction. Davis set up a Facebook group, called DoorDash Ft Dodge Iowa, so local DoorDash customers can more directly voice their concerns and problems with deliveries.

“I want to hear peoples’ feedback,” he said. “What can we do better? What can we do to make it better for you?”

The DoorDash app has a Dasher rating system, but no comments feature, Davis said, which is why he started the group.

“We like to watch our customer ratings,” Morales said. “If we notice we fall low, we get together to talk about how we can improve that.”

Boughton sees DoorDash’s inclusion in the community as a positive for the city.

“It is a great opportunity for Fort Dodge, a great opportunity for restaurants to have more customers that they didn’t have,” she said. “It’s a great addition.”