UPDATE: DoorDash has removed Michael Smith Restaurant and Anton’s Taproom from its website since this story first published.
DoorDash, a food delivery service that debuted in the Kansas City area Wednesday, says it is offering delivery from a staggering 1,500 area restaurants. But not every restaurant listed wants to be part of the service.
Anton Kotar, owner of Anton’s Taproom in the Crossroads, has declined offers to partner with other online food delivery services and was surprised to hear his restaurant and menu are listed on DoorDash’s page.
“I never agreed to that,” Kotar said. “The food at Anton’s would not deliver well. I’ve always been emphatic about that, thank you. There’s no way, shape or form that I can provide a steak in the same quality as inside my restaurant, delivered to your home. I’d rather sell it raw, and let them cook it at home and get blamed for the poor quality. Even when I owned Grinder’s, I didn’t let them deliver.”
Michael Smith Restaurant is also listed on the DoorDash site although the restaurant never agreed to partnering with the service.
“They don’t/won’t use DoorDash at this point and don’t use any other type of online food delivery service,” an email from Michael Smith’s PR firm KSquared said.
Brent Seals, general launch manager for DoorDash, acknowledged during a phone conversation, that DoorDash does “not have formal agreements with all the restaurants (in Kansas City). But we wanted to provide options to all the restaurants our clients want.”
DoorDash sent a statement addressing the issue: “DoorDash strives to provide the best delivery experience possible while keeping the interests of merchants, Dashers, and customers in mind. We have a policy to honor merchants’ wishes if they choose not to be on the DoorDash platform, and we remove any merchant who requests to be removed from DoorDash as soon as our leadership becomes aware of the request.”
Seals says the large number of restaurants they will deliver from is one way that DoorDash sets itself apart from competitors. Typically, DoorDash solicits restaurants in the more than 600 cities it serves in the United States and Canada to sign on as partners.
Jax Fish House on the Plaza didn’t officially sign on as a partner with DoorDash, but the restaurant doesn’t have a problem with it or any other services delivering its food.
“There are certain things we simply can’t deliver,” says Adam Reed, director of operations for Big Red F Restaurants in Boulder, Colo., which owns Jax. “We don’t send raw oysters out the door, or any raw food products. But yeah, I think it’s an interesting model, and we’re eager to see how it goes.
“We do place to-go orders, and there are several items that travel quite well,” he added. “And hopefully there’s an understanding that it’s always tastier right out of the oven and in the dining room than when it travels across town. We’d love everyone to enjoy offerings from our dining room, but if they want to eat it in their living room, we’re OK with that too.”
In Kansas City, customers can have food delivered by logging onto DoorDash.com on their computer or through an app they can download onto mobile devices. Delivery charges will range from 99 cents to $3.99, depending on the restaurant, though this week customers can try out DoorDash for 99 cents across the board.
DoorDash comes into Kansas City on the heels — or shall we say wheels — of several other online food delivery services including UberEATS, which launched here in September 2017. UberEats stated at the time that it would deliver from 70 restaurants in the Kansas City area.
“We think there’s a great local food scene in Kansas City, and several of our national partnerships like Cheesecake Factory, Wendy’s and Buffalo Hot Wings are all there,” says Seals.
DoorDash runs between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily, and right now delivers to customers in the downtown and midtown areas of Kansas City as well as Overland Park. On Jan. 17, it will expand its delivery area to include Independence, Blue Springs, Platte County and Clay County.
DoorDash has national partnerships with the Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s but will deliver from dozens of independently owned eateries including Plowboys BBQ, Beignet, Charisse and Mildred’s coffee house.
The website shows an estimated delivery time for each restaurant.
DoorDash has had other problems around the country.
Earlier this week, Burger Antics, a Chicago area restaurant, filed a lawsuit against DoorDash, which had been delivering its food without the burger joint’s permission or knowledge.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the owners of Burger Antics learned their restaurant was on DoorDash from disgruntled customers.
“They started getting complaints from customers about getting cold food from the delivery service really late,” Terrence Buehler, a Chicago attorney representing Burger Antics, told The Tribune.
According to Eater.com, In-N-Out Burger, a popular regional chain headquartered in California, sued the delivery service in November 2015 for trademark infringement. In-N-Out-Burger had been demanding, without success, that DoorDash remove its logo and menu from the delivery service’s website. The lawsuit was dismissed a few months later and the logo and menu were removed.
A few months later, Eater reported that DoorDash drew the ire of unwitting customers and restaurants for upcharging the price of individual menu items in addition to charging for the delivery service. They did so without the knowledge of the restaurants, which were never given a cut of the upcharge.
DoorDash no longer does that, says Seals.
“DoorDash has same online price as in-store, though sometimes restaurants decide to offer different prices for delivery,” he said.