US food delivery giant DoorDash has expanded into New Zealand, bringing more competition to the local online ordering space.
The New York Stock Exchange-listed company headquartered in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, is hoping to undercut existing market players and offer cheaper prices.
Its ordering services through its website have gone live for delivery within the Wellington region, and will expand out to more cities across the country over the next few months.
DoorDash hopes to be operating in all cities across New Zealand by the end of the year.
Rebecca Burrows, general manager of DoorDash New Zealand and Australia, said DoorDash believed New Zealand was "an underserved market". The market has seen an explosion of small Kiwi startups in recent years, although remains dominated by Uber Eats and Menulog.
"We really feel that investing and growing our business in New Zealand and extending the reach of local businesses across our platform. Lots of countries are having challenges with the rebound post-pandemic and New Zealand isn't immune to that so we think we can help lots of small businesses by our launch," Burrows told the Herald.
"There are some other players in the market but we do think New Zealand is underserved so us coming in will add another option, increase competition and hopefully benefit small businesses, customers and people who choose to dash."
Like dominant players in the market Uber Eats and Menulog, DoorDash is a technology company that facilitates delivery.
Burrows said DoorDash would start its New Zealand expansion with delivery of prepared food from restaurants, before offering delivery of other items including groceries and convenience items, prescriptions, liquor and pet supplies.
In other markets, it offers a white-label service, fulfilling delivery of orders for restaurants through their own business websites, and a picking and packing service for its grocery partners.
"We like to think what we're doing is increasing options for merchants to increase consumers and convenience for consumers."
DoorDash is worth an estimated US$4.6 billion ($7b) and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2020. It was founded in 2013 and is today operating in a number of markets, including Canada, Germany, and Australia, where it has been operating for over two years.
The company has set up a local office in Wellington, employing a local sales team of six, and will be hiring more staff in the next few months to establish an Auckland office.
Its launch kicked off in Wellington, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt last month, and it aims to be able to service 80 per cent of the population through major cities over the next year.
"We'll expand as quickly as we can - we are putting a local team on the ground, we've got [the beginnings] of that now, and that will help us to expand as quickly as we can. The way we look to expand is to make sure each community we go in is served well, before we move quickly into Auckland, Christchurch and other large cities, and then smaller cities around."
Burrows said DoorDash would also bring job creation to New Zealand, and more flexible work options for its delivery partners, and office jobs. Within its plans it hopes to build a local team of tech engineers to build out the platform.
"We're leveraging investment we have had in our technology and localising that for the New Zealand market. I have an engineering team in Australia that is leaning in heavily to make sure that platform that we build for New Zealand is the right one and over time hopefully we'll have some local tech teams as well," she said.
Burrows could not reveal how much DoorDash had invested in New Zealand so far for launch, but said the figure was significant and it would continue to invest as it grows.
"We are investing quite heavily in building our local presence from a resourcing perspective, and as we learn more from the market."
Burrows said DoorDash was confident its business would be a success in New Zealand.