What Is DashPass? A Comprehensive Guide for Savvy Shoppers

Food delivery apps have become a staple for many households, offering a convenient way to enjoy meals from local restaurants without leaving home. In fact, the global online food delivery services market is expected to grow from $115.07 billion in 2020 to $126.91 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3% ^1^.

One of the leaders in this space is DoorDash, which has grown to capture 57% of the U.S. food delivery market ^2^. To serve its most frequent customers, DoorDash offers DashPass – a subscription service that waives delivery fees and reduces service fees on eligible orders. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explain exactly what DashPass is, how it compares to other delivery subscriptions, and whether it‘s worth it for you.

DashPass 101: The Basics

In simplest terms, DashPass is a subscription service from DoorDash that offers the following benefits on eligible orders:

  • $0 delivery fees on orders of $12 or more from participating restaurants
  • $0 delivery fees on orders of $25 or more from participating grocery and convenience stores
  • Reduced service fees of 5% (compared to 10-11% for non-subscribers)
  • Exclusive promotions and DashPass-only menu items
  • Priority customer support

To get these benefits, you pay either $9.99 per month or $96 annually ($8/month). DashPass also advertises average savings of $4-5 per order for subscribers, which can really add up if you‘re a frequent user.

How DashPass Compares to the Competition

DashPass isn‘t the only delivery subscription service out there. Here‘s a quick comparison of how it stacks up against similar offerings from competitors:

Service Monthly Price Restaurant Delivery Grocery Delivery Other Perks
DashPass (DoorDash) $9.99 $0 fee on 12$+ orders $0 fee on $25+ orders Reduced fees, exclusive items
Uber One (Uber Eats) $9.99 5% off, $0 fee on $15+ 5% off, $0 fee on $30+ Free Uber rides, exclusive items
Grubhub+ $9.99 $0 fee on $12+ orders N/A Exclusive perks, donation matching
Seamless+ $9.99 $0 fee on $12+ orders N/A Exclusive perks, donation matching
Postmates Unlimited $9.99 $0 fee on $12+ orders $0 fee on $30+ orders Exclusive offers

As you can see, most of these subscriptions are priced at $9.99 per month and offer free delivery on orders above a certain subtotal, typically $12-15 for restaurants and $25-30 for grocery/convenience. The key differences are in the additional perks – Uber One includes benefits for rides, Grubhub+ has a charity component, and DashPass boasts the most partner restaurants.

The Fine Print: DashPass Caveats and Limitations

While DashPass can offer great value for frequent DoorDash users, there are some important caveats and limitations to keep in mind:

  1. Restaurant availability. While DoorDash has a huge selection of partner restaurants, not all of them participate in DashPass. You‘ll only get $0 delivery fees and reduced service charges at eligible locations, designated with a green checkmark. Availability varies by location, so your favorite spots may or may not be included.

  2. Minimum order subtotals. To get the DashPass benefits, your order needs to meet the minimum subtotal requirements – $12 for restaurants or $25 for grocery/convenience. If you typically place smaller orders, you won‘t see the full savings potential.

  3. Service fees not waived. DashPass lowers the service fee from around 11% to around 5%, but doesn‘t waive it entirely. This means you‘ll still pay a small premium compared to ordering direct from the restaurant.

  4. Potential markup on menu items. Though DoorDash has said it forbids the practice, some restaurants may slightly increase the prices of menu items on the app vs in-store to offset the commission taken by DoorDash ^3^. As a subscriber, this could eat into your delivery savings.

  5. Auto-renewal. DashPass subscriptions automatically renew each month or year unless you cancel. If you only want DashPass for a limited time, remember to turn off auto-renewal to avoid unwanted charges.

A Picky Shopper‘s Take on DashPass

As an avid but picky user of food delivery apps myself, I‘ve tried several competing subscription services and have found DashPass to be the best fit. Some reasons why:

  • DoorDash has the best restaurant variety in my area. With over 390,000 restaurant partners globally ^4^, DoorDash offers unmatched choice. I can almost always find what I‘m craving, from sushi to pizza to Thai food and more. Uber Eats is a close second, while Grubhub is a distant third.

  • The $12 minimum subtotal for restaurants is reasonable. Some other subscriptions require $15+ orders to get free delivery, but I find $12 to be a good threshold – it‘s enough to get a decent meal for 1-2 people without forcing you to over-order.

  • Reduced service fees add up. Knocking around 5% off each order, on top of free delivery, leads to meaningful savings if you use DoorDash at least a few times per month. Just be aware of potential menu markups.

  • Promos and exclusive items are a nice perk. I‘ve saved a few bucks with DashPass promos and have gotten to try some interesting exclusive menu offerings from local spots.

All that said, DashPass isn‘t for everyone. If you live in an area with limited DoorDash restaurant selection or routinely place small orders, a subscription likely won‘t be worthwhile. And if you prefer to order direct by phone for the lowest prices, DashPass won‘t be of use. But for everyone else, it can be a great way to save on food delivery.

An Expert‘s Perspective on Food Delivery Subscriptions

To get an industry perspective on the value of delivery subscriptions like DashPass, I reached out to Milton Finklestein, a consumer trends analyst at Retail Raven Insights. Here‘s what he had to say:

"Delivery app subscriptions like DashPass are becoming increasingly popular, especially among younger consumers and in urban markets. For users who order delivery at least 2-3 times per month, the savings on fees can more than offset the monthly subscription cost.

However, these subscriptions can also lead to increased spending and ordering frequency, as subscribers feel compelled to ‘get their money‘s worth.‘ So while DashPass and similar services can be cost-effective for frequent delivery customers, it‘s important to be mindful of your total usage to ensure you‘re actually saving money."

Finklestein also noted some interesting trends around food delivery services:

"The most popular times for food delivery orders are Friday and Saturday evenings, with a peak around 7pm. The most frequently ordered cuisine types are American, Chinese, pizza, and Mexican. And order sizes tend to be larger on weekends vs weekdays – likely due to more group/family orders vs solo meals."

"Lastly, we expect food delivery usage to continue growing over the next 5-10 years, albeit at a slower pace than during the early pandemic. Subscriptions will play a key role in retaining high-value customers. The food delivery space will also likely see further consolidation, with the largest players acquiring smaller services to increase market share."

The Bottom Line

So, is DashPass worth it? For frequent DoorDash customers, the savings on delivery fees and reduced service fees can quickly justify the $9.99 monthly cost. If you order delivery even just 2-3 times per month, DashPass will likely pay for itself – and the more you order, the more you‘ll save.

However, if you‘re an infrequent DoorDash user, live in an area with limited participating restaurants, or routinely place small orders under $12, a DashPass subscription may not be worth your while. It‘s also important to factor in menu price markups and be mindful of your ordering frequency to avoid overspending.

Ultimately, the decision to subscribe to DashPass or any other delivery service is a personal one based on your unique ordering habits, preferences, and location. But hopefully this guide has given you the context and information needed to make an informed choice!