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Why DoorDash is still growing even as dining in returns

Doordash delivery worker
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo
Delivery remains in demand.
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The pandemic may be starting to ease, but DoorDash is still going strong.

In the three months ending Dec. 31, 2021 (pdf), 369 million total orders were placed on the delivery app, up 35% from the same period the previous year. People also ordered more with each delivery—total order value increased 36% to $11.2 billion. Monthly active users on DoorDash hit 22 million, up 22% from the same period the year before.

While most of its orders are for food from restaurants, DoorDash sees itself as more than just meal delivery. The company has expanded its services to supermarkets, bodegas, flower shops, and convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Wawa. In December, 14% of monthly active users placed a non-restaurant order, DoorDash wrote in a letter to shareholders (pdf). Its rival Uber is pursuing a similar strategy, pushing into the on-demand delivery of everything from alcohol and cannabis to bouquets.

The delivery of just about everything

The pandemic has been a boon for DoorDash and other food delivery companies. People got used to the habit of ordering with a touch of a button—and to paying for the convenience. Investors and analysts, however, have warned that food delivery demand would decline as the pandemic eased. In response, companies like DoorDash have been searching for new sources of revenue, such as groceries, as the orders are frequent and more consistent than restaurant delivery.

The boost in orders also comes after DoorDash’s bought Wolt, a Helsinki-based food delivery startup in November for $8 billion to expand its international presence. That acquisition is expected to finalize in 2022 (pdf). Wolt has deep expertise in logistics efficiency, learned by operating in lightly-populated markets like Finland.

Like most delivery companies, DoorDash remains unprofitable, but, it revealed in an earnings call on Feb. 16, somewhat less so than in previous quarters. DoorDash posted a net loss of $155 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, down from $312 million in the same period for 2020.

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