As a result of the pandemic, the restaurant industry has taken a massive hit in the last few years. In fact, the National Restaurant Association’s recent survey states that nearly half of restaurant operators hold a negative view of the country’s business climate compared to just three months ago. Even though life appears to be returning to normal, many hospitality business owners are still struggling with the ripple effects of the post-pandemic economic recovery and rising inflation.
For restaurant owners struggling to stay afloat during these tough times, DoorDash’s Main Street Strong Accelerator Program may be able to help save your business. Before you apply (Fall 2022 applications just closed out, but be on the lookout for the next round!), read this quick guide to learn how you could benefit from the popular food delivery app’s new program in the near future.
How Does The DoorDash Main Street Strong Accelerator Program Work?
Originally started during the pandemic in 2021, DoorDash’s Main Street Strong Accelerator program was a way to provide a lifeline for businesses experiencing hardship during the pandemic, particularly those owned by women, immigrants, and people of color. Initially enrolling 100 restaurants in its first round, the program quickly grew in size. The program has now benefited over 1,000 small businesses.
Successful applicants receive $20,000 in grants to help their businesses stay afloat. Those who are accepted receive $10,000 at the start of the program and another $10,000 at the end of the 8-week program that walks them through different facets of running a business. The course teaches relevant industry topics like marketing, money management, technology and software, menu planning, licensing, and more. Program recipients can also expect exclusive business coaching from industry leaders, networking opportunities, and other marketing benefits to help them grow and expand.
How Do You Qualify For DoorDash’s Main Street Strong Accelerator Program?
Each cohort will be set in different cities to ensure the program can help restaurant owners nationwide. This fall’s cohort will be set in Portland, OR and Denver, where applicants need the following to qualify:
- Restaurants need to be located in the greater Denver or Portland metro area
- Owners can only operate 3 or fewer restaurant locations for two or more years
- Have brick-and-mortar locations
- Can commit to 3 to 5 hours a week for the duration of the program
After you submit an application, DoorDash will judge prospective applicants based on a standardized rubric. It mainly focuses on long-term business goals, community involvement, and how well the Accelerator program would match the needs of each individual business.
How Do You Apply for DoorDash’s Accelerator Program?
With the program starting mid-October, applications just closed out for this round. However, since their launch in 2021, they’ve hosted 6 local cohorts, so you can keep an eye out for your city in the DoorDash Newsroom!
All participants need to submit:
- A front-and-back copy of your government-issued ID
- Your recent tax returns, if your business is 18 months or older
- A business license such as a DBA, LLC, sole proprietorship formation, or any supporting documentation
- A recent bank statement from your business account
Once your application is accepted, you’ll receive the first half of your $20,000 grant at the program’s start. You’ll receive the other half once you finish the 8-week curriculum.
How DoorDash Accelerator Has Helped Minority and Women-Owned Businesses
Portland Inno reports that Portland restaurants got a chance to benefit from this awesome program.
“For Black businesses to be successful, it’s crucial for them to have access to the resources they need to thrive and be competitive,” said Lance Randall, the Black Business Association of Oregon‘s executive director, in a release.
According to Westword, DoorDash partnered with the Denver’s chapter of the Hispanic Restaurant Association (HRA), an advocacy organization for Hispanic-owned restaurants, and the Accion Opportunity Fund, a group that helps with business growth and resources.
“The majority of the restaurant industry is Hispanic, and a lot of the Hispanic-owned restaurants did not receive the help they needed during the pandemic,” notes Selene Nestor, HRA board member. “The Hispanic community doesn’t really seek out those programs, because there’s not enough information.”
It’s clear that the impact of this program is far-reaching and has lasting positive impacts on the BIPOC community.
The Bottom Line
Owning a restaurant during tough economic times can be incredibly stressful to the owners trying to keep their business afloat. Thankfully, some programs see the immense value small businesses provide to their communities.
With DoorDash’s Main Street Strong Accelerator, the food delivery app’s innovation goes beyond giving money to struggling businesses. The organizers want to give small business owners the tools they need to make their restaurants prosper in any economic situation. If you’re convinced that DoorDash’s Accelerator program is right for you, be sure to watch the page here and be ready when the next round of the program opens!