Q&A With DoorDash CEO on New Initiative to End Hunger and Waste in American Cities

50 billion of the 72 billion pounds of food wasted every year comes from the foodservice industry.

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DoorDash has announced an official partnership with Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization as part of its “Project DASH” company-wide initiative focused on tackling the massive problem of food waste and hunger, along with a new brand and visual identity bringing to light the company’s renewed mission – delivering good by connecting people and possibility.

 

50 billion of the 72 billion pounds of food wasted every year comes from the foodservice industry. Leveraging DoorDash’s last-mile logistics expertise and network of restaurants in more than 600 cities, the opportunity to rescue food and give it to those in need is at an all-time high.

 

Below is a Q&A with Tony Xu, CEO of DoorDash on this new initiative and how his company plans to combat food waste and hunger in America. 

 

 

How did Project DASH get started? What fueled the idea?

 

As a company, we’re deeply committed to delivering good by connecting people and possibility, something that has always been intrinsic to our internal culture. We wanted to bring this to life externally and recently we unveiled a renewed brand strategy and redesign inspired by the DoorDash story and the spirit of the organization, as well as the Customers, Dashers and Merchants we serve.

 

Specifically, we rolled out a completely new visual identity, including a new logo, a redesigned app, gear for Dashers and a refreshed website. In our research, we studied each specific audience using our platform and what they’ve been able to accomplish since doing so, from customers’ getting time back in their day to spend with their families and friends, to Dashers supporting themselves and their families, to Merchants transforming and growing their businesses. The new visual system— photography style, illustration, iconography—were all inspired by the potential that DoorDash represents in their lives.

 

We also announced Project DASH, which stands for DoorDash Acts for Sustainability and Hunger. It’s just one aspect of how we are “delivering good” by leveraging our expertise in dealing with complex logistical challenges, while simultaneously addressing two things our business faces every day: hunger and food waste. Project DASH is a company-wide initiative that focuses on tackling the massive problem of food waste and hunger. 78% of restaurants say that transportation is their biggest barrier to donating food.

 

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How will DoorDash be using the Feeding America’s MealConnect platform?

 

Consumer-facing foodservice businesses offer one of the most significant opportunities to rescue more food (it’s where 50 billion of the 72 billion pounds of food wasted every year comes from). Logistics are a core component of our business, something that made us uniquely poised to pickup and deliver multiple deliveries from various places at the same time.

 

Our integration with MealConnect is part of our official partnership with Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization, and we are dedicating engineering resources to connect DoorDash Drive, (our enterprise fulfillment arm) with MealConnect’s API. This allows our restaurant partners to request a Dasher to pick up and donate their unused food to a local food bank or soup kitchen partnered with Feeding America. Project DASH is treated like a DoorDash Drive delivery. Dashers are paid the guaranteed amount that they are shown prior to accepting a Project DASH delivery. DoorDash contributes all funds to pay Dashers to fulfill Project DASH deliveries and will continue to do so.

 

We also help our restaurant partners navigate regulations (of which there are many). You can’t just wrap up your extra food and donate it, restaurants must navigate the varying requirements from the food donation endpoint (often a food bank or shelter) which can also present an additional hurdle to donation.

 

In addition, during the month of January, DoorDash will also donate a meal ($1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks) through Feeding America for every order placed on DoorDash’s website orAndroid and iOS app.

 

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Tell us a little more about WeDash and what this means for DoorDash employees.

 

From day one, DoorDash employees have “dashed” monthly to keep us connected to our audiences and help us improve the product. Now, through WeDash For Good, all funds earned during these “dashes” will be donated to Feeding America through an official partnership and company-wide initiative focused on tackling the massive problem of food waste and hunger.

 

Is there an opportunity to partner with organizations in other cities to continue the impact of this program?

 

To begin, we’re rolling out Project DASH in New York, the Bay Area, and LA. For each of these markets we need to create a customized approach. There are many restrictions on the side of the foodbank (such as the types of food, packaging, delivery timing, etc.) and we are working through guidelines for each food bank in each city with a specific approach. Our partnership with Feeding America will help us both navigate these requirements more easily and accelerate the rollout to additional markets.

 

Has there been any discussions to make DASH a permanent fixture into the DoorDash business model?

 

Yes, we are fully committed to this initiative and will continue to explore avenues for “delivering good” by connecting people with possibility. It’s still early days and this is just a first step. We’re looking forward to getting this off the ground and executing every delivery with a side of good.

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Grant Trahant

Founder at Causeartist
Founder of Causeartist + Social Entrepreneur + Partner at Charity Charge + Journey of the Soul: Album on Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal all sales and streaming royalties go to support impact projects around the world.
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Written by Grant Trahant

Founder of Causeartist + Social Entrepreneur + Partner at Charity Charge + Journey of the Soul: Album on Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal all sales and streaming royalties go to support impact projects around the world.