DoorDash tests 15-minute grocery deliveries in New York City

The company is hiring employees rather than gig workers for its ultra-fast service.


DoorDash is piloting an ultra-fast grocery delivery service in Manhattan, with the goal of delivering items to customers in less than 15 minutes. The service will initially be available at a new DashMart outlet in Chelsea, and DoorDash plans to expand ultra-fast deliveries to more locations and partners over the coming months.

The company opened its first DashMarts last year to provide a central location for shoppers to find fresh and frozen groceries, household items and goods from local merchants. The company says DashMart offers more than 2,000 items. The Chelsea location will be open between 7AM and 2AM for orders within a small radius, and excess produce will be donated to a local food bank.

In addition, DoorDash notes that the ultra-fast service will require a different operating model than its typical approach of using gig workers to fulfill orders. A team of full-time employees will handle those deliveries. The company says the workers will be on regular schedules, have wages starting at $15/hour plus tips and receive benefits.

The company says 90 percent of its couriers (or Dashers) in the US want to stay as contractors and have greater flexibility over their schedule. DoorDash has been at odds with the city and other jurisdictions, including California, on worker classification and other fronts. NYC lawmakers passed a series of bills in September that, among other things, set minimum pay for gig economy and food delivery workers. In addition, DoorDash, along with Uber Eats and Grubhub, recently sued New York City over limits on the delivery fees they're allowed to charge restaurants.

DoorDash will be competing against other companies that offer ultra-fast deliveries in the city, including Gorillas, Buyk, Gopuff and Jokr. However, it's a well-known brand that could potentially carve out a significant slice of the market.