DoorDash has slashed its delivery commission in half for most restaurants, making it the first service to do so amid the coronavirus crisis

DoorDash has slashed its commission in half for some restaurants. (Photo by Smith Collection, Gado, Getty Images)

The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the government’s forced shutdown.

Forced to pivot to takeaway-only business, intense financial pressure has been mounting on cafes and restaurants. Despite their increasing dependence on the country’s many online food delivery services, none have been willing to reduce the commissions they charge, until now.

On Wednesday DoorDash announced it would become the first, halving the amount it takes from operators with five or fewer locations from now until the end of May.

“We have been actively engaging with our restaurant partners to understand the best way we can support that community through this pandemic,” Australian general manager Thomas Stephens said in a statement.

“By providing over 80% of restaurants on the DoorDash platform in Australia with a 50% commission reduction, we’re focusing this most recent relief effort on those most vulnerable: local businesses.”

The delivery service also delivers orders from restaurants that haven’t signed up with them, but these businesses aren’t charged a commission and thus won’t be affected by the relief program, a spokesperson confirmed.

It comes as DoorDash and its rivals face growing scrutiny over the cut they continue to take from restaurants during their darkest hours.

The likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats have announced a string of other initiatives, including the cutting of some fees and the offering of free pickup, but has balked at the suggestion of a commission reduction.

Deliveroo told Business Insider Australia last week that it was not considering such a move, opting instead to allow customers to tip businesses directly, among other measures.

DoorDash’s commission reduction will be offered to some 150,000 restaurants across its Australian, Canadian and US markets, at a cost of up to $100 million. CEO Tony Xu wrote in a blog post claiming it was balancing the needs of its partners and its delivery people, which the company insists on calling ‘Dashers’.

“Restaurant fees are necessary to keep Dasher … earnings high and support all of the services restaurants and consumers need. But that doesn’t mean we’re not prepared to do our part in this acute moment of need to truly come together,” Xu said.