Students bring cheaper DoorDash plan to USC

CJ Hunter and Owen Engling, DoorDash campus ambassadors, said they would be promoting the student DashPass at pop-ups and sponsored events on campus, hoping to engage students in the service and seeking their feedback. (Colin Huang | Daily Trojan)

A cheaper DoorDash is coming to USC.

DoorDash announced its new DashPass for Students Plan, which, at $4.99 a month, would present a “wallet-friendly option for students to get whatever they desire delivered on-demand from thousands of eligible restaurants, convenience and grocery stores, and other retailers on DoorDash,” the company wrote in its announcement released April 11. 

CJ Hunter and Owen Engling, campus ambassadors for the food delivery platform, say the initiative would make food and item delivery more affordable and convenient for students.

Hunter, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said he believes there is a lot for students to take advantage of with DashPass.

“What we’re trying to do is give college students the convenience of a delivery service without all the high fees you see with Grubhub and Uber Eats,” Hunter said. “The membership [fee] pays for itself in one order.”

Hunter said he is “trying to gauge what restaurants and organizations students really interact with on a daily basis,” such as Spudnuts, Chick-fil-A and Domino’s Pizza, and adding them as eligible purchases under the service.

“If students want more restaurants on the platform, they can reach out to me or the other [ambassador],” Hunter said.

Engling, a senior majoring in human biology and health and the human sciences, said DashPass services extend beyond food delivery, reflecting the breadth of available items on DoorDash.

“I think a lot of people just think it’s for delivering restaurants to your home, but we do groceries. We do small items,” Engling said. “Anything you can get at a common store would be on the app.”

Danielle Shakib, a senior majoring in business administration, said that DashPass could mitigate the extensive cost of food delivery, otherwise a safer alternative than going in person to a restaurant late at night. Shakib had previously shied away from the service because of the expense.

“[The cost] just starts to add up, and it’s unrealistic,” Shakib said. “If I was going to order DoorDash and my friend was going to come over, I’m like, ‘Let’s just go get the food.’” 

With DashPass, however, Shakib said she could envision herself spending within her personal budget.

“The whole intention [of DoorDash] is to make your life easier,” Shakib said. “Obviously, it’s at a really high cost now, so if you can bring that down, I feel like they’re just going to have better retention rates, consumers will be happier and it also helps them with competition [against] Postmates or Uber Eats.”

Engling said ambassadors would be promoting the student DashPass at pop-ups and sponsored events on campus, hoping to engage students in the service — with a $10 gift card promotional offer for those who sign up and $48 annual subscriptions — and seek their feedback on ways to improve the platform.

“We’ll [also] be going around to different clubs and organizations on campus to talk to people and letting them know that this exists,” Engling said. “We’ll be trying as many different ways to get involved with students as possible.”