Ordering food delivery through apps like DoorDash has become extremely popular in recent years. The convenience of having restaurant meals arrive at your doorstep with just a few taps on your phone is hard to beat.

However, you may have noticed that menu prices on DoorDash are often higher than what you would pay ordering directly from the restaurant. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain exactly why DoorDash marks up menu prices and other fees associated with delivery that impact the total cost.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: DoorDash prices are higher due to delivery fees, service fees, small order fees, and markups that DoorDash adds to the menu prices in order to pay drivers and turn a profit.

DoorDash Adds Various Fees on Top of Menu Prices

One of the reasons why DoorDash prices may appear higher than restaurant prices is because DoorDash adds various fees on top of the menu prices. These additional fees contribute to the final cost of the order, making it more expensive for customers.

Delivery Fee

One of the main fees that DoorDash charges is the delivery fee. This fee is applied to cover the cost of delivering the food from the restaurant to the customer’s location. The delivery fee can vary depending on factors such as distance and demand.

In some cases, the fee may be higher during peak hours or in areas with limited drivers available. It’s important to note that the delivery fee does not go directly to the restaurant but to DoorDash to cover their expenses.

Service Fee

In addition to the delivery fee, DoorDash also charges a service fee. The service fee helps to cover operational costs and support the platform’s services. This fee is usually a percentage of the total order value and can range from 10% to 15%.

It’s important to keep in mind that the service fee is not a tip for the driver but a fee charged by DoorDash.

Small Order Fee

DoorDash may also charge a small order fee for orders below a certain minimum value. This fee is typically applied to offset the costs associated with processing and delivering small orders. It encourages customers to place larger orders to avoid incurring this additional fee.

It’s worth noting that the fees mentioned above are not set by the restaurants themselves, but by DoorDash as part of their business model. The fees can vary depending on various factors, and it’s important for customers to be aware of them before placing an order.

For more information on DoorDash’s fees and pricing structure, you can visit their official website doordash.com.

DoorDash Increases Menu Prices

One of the reasons why DoorDash prices can be higher than restaurant prices is due to the commission rates that DoorDash charges to restaurants. When restaurants partner with DoorDash, they agree to pay a certain percentage of their sales as a commission to the platform.

This commission can range from 15% to 30% or even more, depending on the restaurant and location. To cover these costs and maintain their profit margins, restaurants often increase their menu prices for DoorDash orders.

Commission Rates

DoorDash’s commission rates can significantly impact a restaurant’s pricing strategy. Higher commission rates mean that restaurants need to increase their menu prices to make up for the additional costs.

For small businesses and local restaurants, these commission rates can have a substantial impact on their bottom line. While DoorDash provides a platform for increased visibility and access to a wider customer base, the higher commission rates can be a trade-off for restaurants.

Menu Price Inflation

Another factor contributing to the higher prices on DoorDash is menu price inflation. When restaurants partner with third-party delivery services like DoorDash, they often face additional expenses such as packaging, delivery personnel, and technology integration.

To cover these costs, restaurants may choose to increase their menu prices, which in turn leads to higher prices on DoorDash. This price inflation is not unique to DoorDash but is a common practice among many food delivery platforms.

Lack of Competition

The lack of competition in the food delivery market can also contribute to higher prices on DoorDash. Currently, DoorDash is one of the leading players in the industry, with a significant market share.

This dominant position allows DoorDash to set its own commission rates, which restaurants have little choice but to accept if they want to access the platform’s large customer base. With limited options for restaurants to choose from, DoorDash can dictate the terms and conditions, including the menu prices.

It’s important to note that while DoorDash prices may be higher than restaurant prices, there are also factors to consider, such as the convenience of having food delivered to your doorstep and the availability of discounts and promotions on the platform.

Ultimately, customers should weigh the cost and benefits to make an informed decision when ordering through DoorDash.

Other Factors That Impact Total Cost

Driver Tips

One factor that can contribute to higher prices on DoorDash compared to restaurant prices is driver tips. When placing an order through DoorDash, customers have the option to add a tip for the delivery driver.

While tipping is not mandatory, it is customary to show appreciation for the service provided. The amount of the tip can vary, but it is generally recommended to tip around 15-20% of the total order cost.

So, while the base price of the food may be the same as the restaurant’s menu, the addition of a tip can increase the total cost on DoorDash.

Surge Pricing

Another factor that can affect the total cost on DoorDash is surge pricing. Surge pricing is a mechanism used by DoorDash to incentivize more drivers to be on the road during peak demand times. When there is high demand for deliveries, DoorDash may increase the prices temporarily to ensure that there are enough drivers available to fulfill orders.

This can result in higher prices for customers during these peak periods. However, surge pricing is typically only in effect for a limited time and is not always present.


When ordering through DoorDash, customers may also see a slight difference in price due to taxes. Just like when dining in a restaurant, taxes are applied to the total cost of the order. The specific tax rate can vary depending on the location and local tax laws.

While the difference in taxes may not be significant, it can contribute to a slightly higher total cost on DoorDash compared to the restaurant’s prices.

It is important to note that these factors may not always apply in every situation and can vary depending on the specific restaurant and location. Additionally, the convenience and accessibility of DoorDash can often outweigh the slight price difference for many customers.

DoorDash provides a convenient way to have food delivered right to your doorstep, allowing you to enjoy your favorite meals from the comfort of your own home.

How Restaurants Can Minimize Markups

Restaurants often face the challenge of dealing with higher prices on delivery platforms like DoorDash compared to their own in-house prices. However, there are strategies that restaurants can implement to minimize these markups and provide affordable options for customers.

Negotiate Commission Rates

One effective way for restaurants to minimize markups is by negotiating commission rates with delivery platforms. While most platforms charge a percentage of the order total as a commission fee, it’s worth exploring the possibility of negotiating a lower rate.

By establishing a mutually beneficial partnership, restaurants can ensure that their prices remain competitive even when ordering through third-party delivery services.

Encourage Direct Orders

Another approach to minimize markups is by encouraging customers to place direct orders through the restaurant’s own website or phone line. By bypassing the delivery platform, restaurants can avoid the additional fees associated with third-party services.

Additionally, restaurants can offer incentives such as exclusive discounts or special promotions for customers who choose to order directly. This not only helps restaurants retain more revenue but also fosters stronger relationships with their customers.

Offer In-House Delivery

One way to completely eliminate markups is by offering in-house delivery services. While this may require additional resources and logistics, it can be a worthwhile investment for restaurants in the long run.

By having control over the delivery process, restaurants can ensure that their prices remain consistent and competitive. Additionally, offering in-house delivery can provide a more personalized and seamless experience for customers, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.


In summary, DoorDash adds various fees like delivery and service fees along with inflating menu prices to cover their operating costs and commissions. Factors like driver tips, surge pricing, and taxes also impact your total bill.

While the markup may seem frustrating, it’s part of the business model that allows you to get restaurant meals delivered conveniently. Restaurants can potentially minimize markups by negotiating commission rates with DoorDash directly and encouraging customers to order takeout or delivery directly from the restaurant.

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