DoorDash has made a name for itself as a restaurant delivery service that has in later years expanded to categories like groceries and convenience store items. But the company is now running a test of a surprising new feature: a rewards program that offers consumers credits for dining out at local restaurants.
The feature, called simply “Dine Out,” allows users to earn credits by swiping to “check in” while they’re at a restaurant. As a page on DoorDash’s customer support site explains, the amount of the credit varies and will be stated in the offer. Plus, if a restaurant has multiple locations, the credit may be limited to certain locations. Customers are also limited to one eligible restaurant per day.
The company has not formally announced the feature because it’s a small-scale test for the time being. However, DoorDash confirmed to TechCrunch it’s running the test with consumers in select markets, where users would claim a deal in advance, and then dine out at the participating restaurants to earn their rewards.
Other details about the program, including the markets where the test is available, the number of restaurant participants, or revenue share details were not provided, as DoorDash is not ready to publicly announce the offering.
“DoorDash constantly innovates and tests new in-app features to provide customers with best-in-class experiences, while providing restaurant partners with new ways to increase their revenue,” a company spokesperson told TechCrunch. “A limited number of customers in select markets may see Dine Out deals, where they can receive discounts after dining in at select restaurants,” they noted.
Some of the deals being offered to customers are quite lucrative, however.
As one user, a16z consumer partner Olivia Moore, remarked on X, “the credits are pretty serious!” She also shared screenshots of the feature in action which showed a deal that would offer $20 in DoorDash credits for swiping to check in to an area restaurant in San Francisco.
Asked why DoorDash would want to upend its model from home delivery to encouraging consumers to leave their house to dine in person for large rewards, the company spokesperson said DoorDash has nothing more to share at this time.
However, leveraging a popular food delivery app as a means of increasing foot traffic to restaurants could be an interesting idea. Already, DoorDash users launch the app to discover different cuisines and restaurants in their city that they want to try, and a well-placed deal that encouraged them to eat out could be a tempting offer — especially if it came with DoorDash credits to use at a later date.
Essentially, the app would serve as lead gen for DoorDash restaurant partners — and potentially a way to onboard restaurants to the platform that have hesitated to offer delivery services through the app, too.
Given the small-scale nature of the test, it’s unclear if or when the Dine Out program will expand across the U.S., but it may be worth launching the app to see if it’s available in your city.