Business & Real Estate

Elk Grove residents can start getting sushi and hamburgers delivered

DoorDash driver Jake Vertin shows off the iPhone application in Curry Up Now, August 21, 2013, in Palo Alto, California. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
DoorDash driver Jake Vertin shows off the iPhone application in Curry Up Now, August 21, 2013, in Palo Alto, California. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) MCT

The food delivery wars are heating up in Sacramento, as yet another company expands its territory.

DoorDash, a San Francisco-based food delivery startup, announced it will be launching services in Elk Grove and south Sacramento beginning Wednesday. DoorDash will be the first meal courier service to operate in Elk Grove.

The startup first arrived in the Sacramento region in July, serving the suburbs of Roseville, Folsom and Citrus Heights before moving into downtown Sacramento and eastern Sacramento County in September.

DoorDash, like similar companies contacted, touted the speed of its growth, but declined to provide specific figures fearing the information would help the competition. The marketplace for restaurant delivery in Sacramento is increasingly crowded and includes players like Waitr, Caviar, Postmates and GrubHub.

Customers typically order through an app or website. The order is then forwarded to the restaurant and the delivery service dispatches a driver to pick up the food and deliver it. Most of these companies use independent contractors, such as Kate Gibbons, a 54-year-old stay-at-home mom who works with DoorDash.

At first, business was slow because “people hadn’t heard about us,” Gibbons said.

“It’s very quick now. As soon as I’m leaving a customer’s house … I get another order,” said Gibbons, a Rocklin resident who mainly works in the Roseville and Granite Bay areas.

Gibbons earns money through a delivery fee from DoorDash along with customer tips. Gibbons said she makes about $2,000 a month before accounting for expenses, working seven days a week during lunch and dinner.

Food delivery is becoming popular as Sacramentans opt to use an app to order lunch or dinner from their living rooms or office.

Katie Norris, spokeswoman for Chicago-based GrubHub, said the company will soon expand its delivery area to Citrus Heights and Roseville after initially launching in midtown, Arden Arcade and North Highlands last year.

Caviar spokeswoman Catherine Ferdon said the company has “more than tripled our order volume” since launching a year ago.

Unlike some of its competitors, San Francisco-based Caviar has a more limited network of restaurants because it signs a revenue-sharing agreement with each eatery. Caviar dispatches staff to photograph menu items for the app and website.

“Our lines of communication are constantly open with the restaurant. We’re working with them closely,” Ferdon said.

Andrea Lepore, co-owner of Hot Italian in midtown, partners exclusively with Caviar at her Sacramento location. Lepore likes how she can offer gift cards to customers if something goes wrong during the delivery process.

“There are lots of safeguards in place for customer service,” she said.

For other delivery companies, “they just come in and order. The problem is if the customer complains or something is missing, we don’t have any connection to the customer so it just reflects badly on us,” Lepore added.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang

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