The Real Reason DoorDash Launched A Workplace Feature

As a July Forbes article noted, employees prefer to work remotely now more than ever before, even in the face of more and more employers forcing a return to the office. Even hybrid working arrangements, wherein employees can work remotely part of the time and come into the office on limited days per week, are receiving a raised eyebrow from employees who'd rather work from their couches. However, a new offering from DoorDash hopes to nudge employees back into the office using food as motivation.

In mid-September, DoorDash announced the expansion of its prior DoorDash for Work offering, which originally launched in 2020. Since its launch, DoorDash for Work has been used by thousands of companies and platform usage is currently growing by more than 70%, according to a press release from the brand. 

The platform provides companies a streamlined way to offer in-office dining for employees, cater meetings and other group functions, set meal budgets for groups and individuals, and allow for employees to expense meals seamlessly, among its other features.

But why would it work?

DoorDash for Work provides functions and features designed to make the employer's life easier, but what does it do for employees? The DoorDash for Work employee-focused functions, the brand said, might just be too tempting to pass up, at least for those who are on the fence about returning to the office. 

Employee benefits include free delivery, reduced service fees on meals and everyday essentials (which will save employees an average of $5 per food delivery service order), gift cards as thank-you gifts from employers, and more, all of which DoorDash feels can help employers attract and retain top talent.

DoorDash isn't just banking on the above being attractive to employees for no reason, though. The brand surveyed American employees on how companies can improve company culture and attract new hires. The survey found that sharing meals and free lunches are some of the top ways employees feel employers could improve company culture. Surveyed employees also said that the opportunity to spend more time with coworkers (such as during shared meals) and free meals would both be strong motivators to return to full-time, in-office work.

Free food has always been popular

The idea of using free food as a motivator for in-office work is hardly new, even if DoorDash for Work is a relatively new concept. Time published an article in April on how food is becoming increasingly important in motivating workers to come back to the office, as well as a way to build community and in-office culture while fostering collaboration. 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Forbes was publishing articles as far back as 2013 saying that free food makes for happier employees. At that time, Forbes reported on a survey much like DoorDash's more recent survey, wherein employees said free food would "strongly influence their decision to accept a job offer" and that free food would make them feel "valued and appreciated."

But if the ever-present love of free food among employees isn't enough to convince companies to sign up for a service like DoorDash for Work, the brand also put out an ROI report to show decision-makers how DoorDash for Work could impact their bottom lines. DoorDash claims that, with DoorDash for Work, companies could see as much as a 12% increase in employee productivity per day, which equals 58 minutes of additional productivity per employee per day, or 6.25 weeks of extra productivity per employee per year.