DoorDash Steps Up Student Deals as Gen Z Cuts Back

DoorDash, looking to secure the loyalty of Gen Z amid inflation, is adding more perks.

The aggregator announced Wednesday (Feb. 1) a partnership with education technology company Chegg, enabling college students who are subscribed to the latter’s Study Pack program, which includes a range of educational support tools, to get a free DashPass Student membership.

“We are thrilled to partner with Chegg to empower students with the tools they need to manage their coursework and get everything they desire for school delivered on-demand,” said Rob Edell, general manager and head of consumer engagement at DoorDash said, in a statement.

The membership provides free delivery, lower service fees, credit back on pickup orders and other perks, making it an appealing offering as rising prices have many consumers reevaluating their spending. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that, in December, restaurant prices were up 8.3% year over year, above the all-item inflation rate of 6.5%.

Indeed, Generation Z diners have been rethinking their restaurant spending amid these price increases, according to data from the December edition of PYMNTS’ Restaurant Digital Divide study, The 2022 Restaurant Digital Divide: Restaurant Customers React To Rising Costs, Declining Service.

The report, which draws from a December survey of more than 2,300 consumers who regularly purchase food from restaurants, finds that 88% of Generation Z consumers have made adjustments to their restaurant purchasing in response to inflation.

The most common change these diners have made is purchasing less often from restaurants, which spells bad news for aggregators. These platforms rely on young consumers’ loyalty, per research from the latest edition of PYMNTS’ ConnectedEconomy™ series, The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: Meet the Zillennials.

The study pulls from responses from nearly 4,000 U.S. consumers and finds that younger generations are disproportionately ordering from restaurants online. Specifically, 69% of Gen Z and 71% of millennials order online, compared to just 54% of Gen X and 30% of baby boomers and seniors.

By palliating students’ price anxieties with the promise of free delivery, DoorDash has the opportunity to secure the loyalty of these young consumers for years to come. Indeed, there has been significant competition for this demographic across aggregators.

For instance, in October, food ordering and delivery firm Grubhub announced that it was expanding its robotic delivery offerings on U.S. college campuses in partnership with

 autonomous solution provider Starship Technologies in a bid to expand its reach with students.

“Robot delivery solves the unique challenges of accessing hard-to-reach areas that come from operating on a college campus,” Adam Herbert, senior director of campus partnerships at Grubhub, said in a statement at the time. “Offering this type of delivery further improves the Grubhub dining experience as we continue to provide innovative solutions for students and our campus partners.”

Uber Eats has been less active in its efforts to secure the loyalty of this demographic. The company has been more focused on expanding its grocery vertical, announcing last month the addition of 250 of Midwestern retailer Meijer’s stores to the platform.

“Uber’s biggest differentiator is our user base across mobility and delivery,” Christian Freese, Uber’s head of grocery and new verticals across the U.S. and Canada, told PYMNTS in an interview. “We’re truly a one-tap destination to go-anywhere and get-anything platform.”