An innovative tech company has discovered a new way to use their product for the greater good. DoorDash, founded in 2013, delivers meals on demand by connecting its users to local restaurants through their mobile app.
The app’s complex algorithm helps the company’s drivers quickly identify the most efficient delivery routes to cut down on wait time, and the product has enjoyed immense success as a result. DoorDash currently offers services in over 600 cities, and it’s now utilizing that broad infrastructure to prevent food waste and fight hunger at the same time.
Project DASH was developed in partnership with the nonprofit organization Feeding America in order to help restaurants more effectively deliver surplus food to nearby shelters and food banks. In 2016, restaurants reported donating only two percent of leftover food and throwing out an astounding 93 percent.
In states like California, laws that prohibit reusing food the next day lead to high food waste. When surveyed, restaurant owners cited prohibitive cost as the greatest barrier to donating food at the end of the night. DoorDash solved the problem by utilizing their existing business framework to deliver food efficiently and effectively, with their catering services providing the means to deliver large amounts of food that otherwise would be tough to move.
The project is a win for everyone. From a business standpoint, it helps DoorDash strengthen relationships with its restaurant vendors, gives the company good press, and helps people in need at a relatively low cost. It’s a great example of how entrepreneurial tech companies can have positive effects on local communities by creatively reapplying their products to help solve common problems.
It will be interesting to watch Project DASH over the next few years. If the program is successful, it might provide an interesting model for other tech companies looking to reach out and broaden their reach.