It looks like there’s nearly no one home on DoorDash Yellowknife.

The app-based delivery service has been making headlines in recent weeks as a number of restaurants appeared on the app without owners’ consent

Bullocks Bistro, Taste of Saigon, Main Street Pizza and Deli, The Monkey Tree Pub, and McDonald’s all appeared as options for Yellowknife delivery last week.

Now, only McDonald’s remains listed.

The owners said last week they were surprised when their menus became associated with the app.

Jo-Ann Martin, Bullocks Bistro co-owner, calls DoorDash’s way of doing business “unusual” and “disrespectful.”

She said she had repeatedly declined to take part in DoorDash’s Yellowknife operations after being called “persistently” by the California-based company. 

She explained to them that the bistro is not set up for takeout services and as they continued to press, she “eventually said ‘no we’re not interested.’ That was the end of the conversation,” Martin said. Or so she thought: one of her employees pointed out that Bullock’s was subsequently still listed on the app soon after.

Martin said she was in touch with the other local business owners who had similar concerns over DoorDash’s expansion to Yellowknife. She suspects it was Monkey Tree owner Jenn Vornbrock’s actions that got them off the app.

“It’s a very unusual way of doing business. I don’t know if they realize we’re a small town and everyone knows everyone to a certain extent.”

Vornbrock told NNSL Media last week that DoorDash had even showed up to her pub for an order, despite – like Martin – repeatedly declining to take part in the service. She wasn’t immediately available for comment Friday afternoon.

DoorDash told her they take about 30 per cent of the restaurant’s sales, which Vornbrock said would “kill” her operation. 

Reliable, systematic, simple

The Monkey Tree is instead working with new Yellowknife-based delivery service RSS (reliable, systematic, simple). 

RSS founder Shivam Dhamija has been working on the new app for months and said it will be ready to launch in the coming weeks. 

“I want restaurant owners to earn a significant amount of money from my delivery business,” Dhamija said, unlike big box companies that “take all the profit margins.”

He said DoorDash’s handlings have given locals a “bad image of delivery businesses,” but wants restaurant owners to know “this is something that can expand their business and double their revenue.” 

“DoorDash is trying to enter the market but they don’t know anything about this town,” he said.

Copperhouse is among the businesses working with RSS ahead of their launch. 

Co-owner Mark Henry said RSS’s fees are no where near DoorDash’s, which he called “excessive.” 

“It’s a local guy trying to make a go of it. That’s what we need,” he said. 

Copperhouse was not listed on the DoorDash app, but as a local restaurant owner, Henry still said their actions aren’t “fair to local retailers who invest in the community.”

“It’s another example of a big box store coming in and taking money from locals,” he said. 

DoorDash has several job postings for full-time and part-time work in Yellowknife, despite four of the five restaurants having been deleted from the app. Google Screengrab.

As a small kitchen with just one cook, Martin said Bullock’s is not currently in a position to offer takeout services. 

Though, “if we were contemplating something like that, we would prefer to support someone local,” she said, explaining that she declined Dhamija’s offer but respects his operation.   

“New ideas are a great thing,” she said. “However I think we have to respect each other, too.”

DoorDash still has several part-time and full-time job openings listed on Indeed and Recruit online job boards.  

Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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