McDonald's Will Have to Pay Higher DoorDash Fees on Slow Orders, Report Says

New, wait-based commission fees for restaurants will go into effect next year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A DoorDash delivery worker; a McDonald's takeout bag
Photo: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Aleksander Kalka / NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to the Wall Street Journal, DoorDash could increase its commission fees on McDonald's orders that take more than four minutes to prepare. The outlet reports that DoorDash — which charges each restaurant a commission fee for orders that its Dashers pick up to deliver — has a "tiered rate system" for McDonald's, and that its commission fees vary based on whether the customer is a member of its DashPass subscription service.

The Journal wrote that DoorDash's commission structure for McDonald's orders ranges from a base 11.6 percent fee for non-DashPass subscribers, while it charges 14.1 percent on orders from DashPass subscribers. "The previous rate for both was 15.5 [percent]," the outlet explains. "McDonald's pays a higher commission on orders from DoorDash's monthly subscribers because those customers order frequently and spend more, driving more business to restaurants."

But starting in 2023, if a Dasher has to wait more than four minutes to pick up a delivery order, the commission fee will increase to 17.6 percent on non-DashPass subscriber orders. If the Dasher waits more than seven minutes, the fee continues to increase to 20.1 percent. In its most recent contract with the fast food chain, DoorDash will reportedly also require each individual McDonald's location to cover the cost of refunds that customers request due to incorrect orders "after guest complaints reach a certain threshold."

"DoorDash does not comment on confidential client contract terms," a DoorDash spokesperson told Food & Wine in a statement. "The fee structures for our merchant partnerships can vary by store or franchisee location and, in practice, can be determined by a variety of factors, including volume, average delivery distance, and value-added services, as well as operational performance and quality. Any summary figure is highly misleading. Our platform's quality-based incentives help reduce Dasher wait times in order to maximize their earnings and boost customer retention and revenue for our merchant partners."

In a statement, a McDonald's corporate spokesperson told Food & Wine that the company's goal was to provide "world-class" experiences for its customers. "As we continue to focus on long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships, we have engaged in global agreements with leading delivery providers," the statement continued. "Commission rates are just one component we consider when establishing these strategic agreements, which often take into account unique and reciprocal business objectives and allow our partners to capitalize on the unmatched advantages that a global partnership with the largest restaurant company in the world provides."

As for orders placed through Uber Eats, the Journal says that McDonald's restaurants will pay a 14 percent commission on orders from customers that aren't part of its own Eats Pass, and they pay 16 percent on orders from Eats Pass subscribers. Uber does not currently adjust its commission fees to reflect its drivers' wait times.

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