ELLSWORTH — Five city restaurants and one drugstore have signed on to the DoorDash delivery service, which started in Ellsworth on Feb. 23 — sort of. A lack of drivers and technical issues led to a rough rollout, but three weeks later, things are running quite a bit smoother.
But the initial problems led Wicked Munchies, one of the first restaurants to sign on, to drop the service the day it launched, citing incorrect prices, a lack of photos and, most importantly, “failed food deliveries,” owner Travis Healey said. He had alerted DoorDash of the many issues prior to Feb. 23 but was ignored, he said.
“Upon opening, none of these issues were fixed,” Healey said. “That’s the biggest reason we fired DoorDash the first day.”
Instead, Healey crafted his own delivery service, with online ordering through Toast and DoorDash drivers.
“I personally think delivery is good for Ellsworth,” Healey said. “We are actively working on better solutions … and will keep trailblazing new things for the town as they come.”
In the Maine Coast Mall, Aroma Joe’s signed on to DoorDash after staffer Natalie Brennan heard about it from Wicked Munchies. As a former DoorDash driver in Bangor, she alerted Aroma Joe’s owner, Brendan O’Hazo, and the drive-through started delivery service on Feb. 24.
“We had a couple bumps in the beginning where we didn’t have drivers, but it definitely smoothed down,” Brennan said. “We get a couple orders a day.”
Brennan said DoorDash extracts no fees from restaurants for the first month of service, and Aroma Joe’s is “pretty happy with it.
“It’s definitely a different system, a couple more steps than what it would be to serve a guest at the store,” she said, noting that DoorDash also offers pick-up, so a customer can order online and then pick up at the window.
One new driver, Melissa Ann Giuliana of Ellsworth, signed up before delivery started “to give it a shot,” she said. Now she delivers daily throughout the entire Ellsworth area and said so far, it’s going well.
“If more people were aware that DoorDash works in the Ellsworth area, then I’d imagine it would be a better turnout for sure,” Giuliana said. “I think being so new in this area a lot of people are unaware [of] it or how it works.”
Giuliana keeps the app up and running for about 10 hours a day.
“What’s awesome about DoorDash is you create your own hours,” she said. To sign on as a driver, Giuliana had to provide “lots of proof of identity” and insurance in an “about 30-minute process.”
For those who wish to order, the website DoorDash.com is simple to use. As of March 16, the following Ellsworth businesses had signed on: McDonald’s, KFC, Governor’s, Wendy’s and Aroma Joe’s. For snack food and beverages, Walgreens is also available. While there is no delivery fee, prices may be higher than the standard in-restaurant prices.
“Here, delivery services are limited, so to be able to provide diverse delivery [service] is definitely a good addition to Ellsworth and even more so during this pandemic,” Giuliana said, then added, “I also hope people start tipping their drivers a little better … It definitely helps with the gas.”