DoorDash’s revamped merchant suite helps operators achieve their business goals.
During the pandemic, Empire Palace Chinese Restaurant found itself looking for alternative ways to bring in revenue and grow restaurant business.
A well-established, family-owned business located just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., the restaurant first opened its doors in 2007. It focused primarily on dine-in customers prior to COVID-19—and this segment accounted for 70 percent of sales. But changes in the labor market, as well as local and federal restrictions, meant Empire Palace would need to reevaluate its model.
In late 2021, the restaurant decided to partner with DoorDash. “Before DoorDash, we received 70–100 tickets per day for both dine-in and takeout total,” says Pete Zheng, owner of Empire Palace Chinese Restaurant. “Today, we get between 30–50 tickets per day just from DoorDash. I expect we’ll increase that average in fall and winter.” Empire Palace ultimately decided to close down dine-in permanently. It now operates as a takeout and delivery restaurant. Its revenue has increased by 30–50 percent since partnering with DoorDash.
“It opened up a completely new customer base,” Zheng says. “From a labor perspective, it made sense to close down dine-in because we knew DoorDash could replace it—and increase it.”
The summer is typically slower for Empire Palace, but even during those months, it was able to grow its business online using DoorDash’s Marketplace and Storefront products.
“The adoption of Storefront alone helps us generate about a fourth of our total revenue,” Zheng says. “The menu is similar to what’s presented in Marketplace, and our loyal customers can still order directly through our website.”
The restaurant also uses Sponsored Listings and Promotions to attract new customers and increase order volume and size. “I like doing things with DoorDash that convert actual sales,” Zheng says. “We have a promotion for $8 off $55 that’s done very well. Customers see it as a game to get their order to $55. We also have nine–10 ads running simultaneously between Marketplace and Storefront depending on what our customers like. DoorDash analytics help guide my decisions on what to promote. If spending a dollar on promotions leads to $12 in sales, that’s fantastic.”
DoorDash recently announced a reimagined Merchant Suite. Built in response to partner feedback, the suite was designed to put restaurants’ needs first, highlighting the variety of ways restaurants can grow on the platform. Restaurants can now easily identify and access a unique set of DoorDash tools that can help them achieve their unique goals and succeed off-premise.
“I like to think of our Merchant Suite as a ‘choose your own adventure on DoorDash’ guided experience shaped directly by partners’ feedback and designed with their needs at heart,” says Tom Pickett, chief revenue officer at DoorDash. “Our goal is to give restaurants more opportunities to grow, be more profitable, and operate efficiently in today’s online convenience economy. We’re only successful when our partners are successful—we hope this new framework gives them the guidance and tools they need to grow.”
Zheng recommends that restaurant operators experiment with the new tools—and if they find success, to double down on whatever works for them. “Every single restaurant has its own margins, and the owners and operators know their business the best,” he says. “If you’re a mom-and-pop shop and you’d like to scale your business, it depends on investing in what’s going well. The beauty of DoorDash is that it has so many options to help restaurant business owners.”
To learn more, visit get.doordash.com.