5 Common In-Restaurant Issues — and Tips from Experienced Dashers to Solve Them

Learn how merchants and Dashers can work together and tackle common issues in the delivery process.

8 min read
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To provide your customers with excellent service, top-notch navigation and punctuality are key. However, no matter how seasoned you are as a Dasher, occasional hiccups can happen. It helps to remember that everyone involved is working towards a shared goal of a smooth delivery for the customer. 

That's why understanding common issues that may come up — and tips from experienced dashers and merchants to troubleshoot them — can help build a solid Dasher-merchant relationship which is vital for solving common in-restaurant issues.

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What kinds of issues can merchants and Dashers face?

From forgotten items to payment problems, seasoned Dashers mention these as the most common issues they encounter:

  • Miscommunication: Clear communication is critical to smooth interactions with merchants. Experienced Dashers recommend avoiding misunderstandings by promoting respectful dialogue. 

  • Order mistakes: Sometimes, merchants may miss an order or provide incorrect items. Understandably, this can be frustrating. However, in these cases, it can help to stay calm, communicate clearly, and reach out to Dasher support if necessary.  

  • Long wait times: While infrequent, long wait times are sometimes unavoidable, especially during peak hours. Merchants are doing their best to respond to pick-up and delivery order volume in their stores. Dashers can help mitigate frustrations by communicating delays to their customers through the Dasher app chat feature.


"Restaurants can get backed up with orders, which is stressful for them, and it can affect you and the customer waiting for their food. But patience helps you become more aware and compassionate. Being stressed about something you can't control doesn't make anyone move any faster."

ChrissyHQ, Dasher, Saint Paul, MN

Why communication is key

The cornerstone of any relationship is good communication. While it may feel like a little extra effort, having an open and respectful dialogue with merchants can help tackle most Dasher issues. Everyone values recognition and respect, which is why restaurants and Dashers collaborating can bring mutual benefits.

Teresa Cerino

"The Dashers are truly an extension of our restaurant — they really represent us. It's not just another service; they’re making sure our customers have a good experience."

Teresa Cerino, Manager, Water St. Cafe
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How merchants process orders 

A lot happens behind the scenes before you receive a notification to pick up an order. When your customer orders through the DoorDash app, it's sent to the business's point of sale system or DoorDash tablet. An employee reviews, accepts, and begins creating the order, and marks it as "in progress." Once the order is ready, it's set aside for Dashers to pick up. Some restaurants will have designated areas for this, while others may be streamlining their Dasher pickup process in other ways. 

Proven solutions to common Dasher problems

We've asked the most seasoned Dashers to help provide a list of the most common issues they've encountered and their solutions so that newer Dashers can learn what to watch out for and how to dash effectively.

  • Merchant is closed: In the app, select “Store Closed” to provide the necessary information for a refund and to remove the order from your DoorDash Dasher app. 

  • Item is unavailable: Communicate with the merchant and customer to see if there are any substitutions. Contact support to cancel the order if there's no alternative solution. 

  • Unable to mark an order as picked up: If you cannot mark an order as picked up, you may still be too far from the store location. Once you actually arrive at the store and get the order, it can be marked as picked up. 

  • Merchant doesn't have the order: If confirmed, kindly request them to input the order into their system. In case the restaurant is unable to locate the order, you may proceed to self-place the order, either by reading the items from the DoorDash Dasher app or showing it to the store. Rest assured, the store will be automatically compensated for this order, just like any other DoorDash order.

  • Order is delayed: Merchants may experience delays during peak times. When this happens, it helps to contact the customer to inform them of changes and keep them updated.

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Tips for how Dashers and merchants can work together effectively 

Every restaurant operates differently. Fast-food restaurants may have more pickup options, such as a drive-thru. Fine dining restaurants may prioritize the ambiance for their in-restaurant diners and likely have a designated pickup area. A seamless pickup always starts with greeting the store employee and showing your order confirmation.

Justin P.

"One time, I was picking up an order at a Hawaiian restaurant, and they were running behind. Of course, that cost me because I could have been doing other deliveries rather than waiting. But the gentleman behind the counter made me some food and gave me a drink while I was waiting, and I was really moved by the kindness of the gesture."

Justin P., Dasher, Los Angeles, CA

Experienced Dashers recommend starting each new interaction with a smile and a friendly introduction. Courteous Dashers often find merchants more amenable to their needs. Try to get familiar with the ins and outs of the restaurants you frequent often to build a rapport with the staff and owner(s). It can make a big difference in the quality of your experience. 

Bob Lesando

"Our team makes an effort to get to know the drivers, so when they walk in the door, we have their order ready and hand it to them. It's very seamless."  

Bob Lesando, President, Santini's
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Good Dasher-merchant relationships help you and your customers

You can foster great Dasher-merchant relationships and achieve common goals by being proactive, polite, and adaptable. Doing so can help promote a smoother Dasher experience for you, and result in appreciative customers who receive their food on time. 

Ready to become a Dasher? Sign up today.


Alex Campanelli
Alex Campanelli

Content Marketing Manager