With winter approaching, many restaurants fear what will become of outdoor dining, which has provided an extra boost in light of capacity restrictions. 

DoorDash wants to alleviate some of that worry through its latest Main Street initiative. The third-party delivery company is allocating $2 million in cold weather grants for restaurants in select cities across the country.

Each restaurant—selected based on local climate, limits on indoor dining, and local population—will receive $5,000 grants to adapt to colder temperatures like purchasing heating equipment and more PPE. The funds will be available to restaurants in Chicago, Denver, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Jose.

Currently, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia are limiting indoor capacity to 25 percent. Denver operates at 50 percent while San Jose has yet to allow dining rooms to reopen.

To be eligible, brands must have three or fewer units, have employed 50 or fewer workers in 2019, and have earned $3 million or less in annual revenue per store in 2019. Restaurants must apply via Hello Alice by October 16.

“We know that in cities across the country, the coming months will create new challenges for restaurants, and we’re ready to be part of the solution,” DoorDash wrote in its blog post.

DoorDash’s assistance during the colder months won’t stop there. The brand is also running a “Winter Wednesday” promotion, which will start with no delivery fees for local restaurants each Wednesday in December and include additional discounts for Dash Pass customers.

To boost off-premises, the promotional period for DoorDash Storefront, the company’s own first-party platform, will be extended to new and existing restaurants with five or fewer units through March 31. Additionally, drivers will be offered new cold weather gear.

The third-party delivery provider will also give restaurants access to discounted equipment to help customers dine outdoors and provide educational materials on best practices.

The news should be particularly welcomed by concepts in colder areas like New York City, which recently allowed outdoor dining year-round and Chicago, where restaurants have set up roughly 1,000 sidewalk cafes and more than 650 outdoor patios.

“As we face our new normal, it is critical that we come together to help the restaurants that mean so much to our communities,” DoorDash said. “As always, we are deeply committed to supporting our merchant partners and helping them navigate these difficult times.

Finance, Story