EXCLUSIVE: MOD Pizza rolls out nationwide delivery with DoorDash as fast food chains ally with tech firms

This national pizza chain is taking a bite out of the competitive delivery market.

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Seattle-based MOD Pizza, a fast-casual restaurant company that sells pies and salads, has teamed up with DoorDash to offer delivery across all of its 455 U.S. locations on Wednesday, as restaurants increasingly seek a competitive edge with third-party delivery services.

MOD Pizza offers a Chipotle-like dining experience in its restaurants, where eaters can choose from 10 different pie options or make their own for about $8 each. And with the delivery market expected to increase to more than $24 billion by 2023, according to market research site Statista, the company wants a piece.

“We realize over time, delivery is going to be a big part of meeting consumers where they are,” CEO Scott Svenson told Fox Business.

The privately-owned West Coast eatery, which opened during the recession in 2008, has gone on to become the fastest-growing restaurant chain in America, according to National Restaurant News. It raked in $312 million in revenue in 2018, up 42% from the previous year, its most recent financial report shows.

Investors, meanwhile, seem to gravitate to its “impact employment” policy, with nearly 40% of the firm's workers identifying as low-income youth and people who have been incarcerated or have physical, intellectual or developmental disabilities.

MOD is just the latest national chain enlisting tech to compete in the saturated fast food market. In 2018, Pizza Hut owner Yum Brands bought a $200 million stake in GrubHub, which became its official delivery partner across a portfolio of restaurants including Taco Bell and KFC.

McDonald’s, which had an exclusive partnership with UberEats, added DoorDash to its delivery options. And last week, Panera Bread announced it was partnering with third-party delivery services DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats as well as enlisting its own drivers to deliver food to customers.

The arrangements come with potential PR complications. Third-party delivery apps have been criticized for exploiting employees, who work as independent contractors and, therefore, are not required by law to get paid a minimum wage, have traditional health benefits or sick days.

DoorDash changed its tipping policy recently, vowing to give 100% of tips to workers rather than its previous model of paying drivers a flat rate for delivery.

Last week, a bill was proposed in California that would require companies like Uber and Lyft to pay drivers as employees rather than contractors. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash threatened to spend $90 million to fight the measure, arguing it would upend their business models, which offer flexible hours to workers. A vote on the bill is expected in September.