DoorDash Now Recognizes Unused Gift Cards as Revenue, Adds $36 Million to Sales
New revenue recognition policy accounts for one-third of the restaurant delivery platform’s consensus revenue beat.
November 11, 2021
DoorDash (DASH), a restaurant delivery platform, recently changed its accounting policy related to how it recognizes gift card revenue. The company says it now has enough historical data to estimate the portion of outstanding gift cards that will never be redeemed, or what it calls breakage. With no legal obligation to remit the value of unredeemed gift cards, DoorDash says in its latest 10-Q it’ll now recognize unredeemed gift cards as sales:

“The Company recognizes the breakage amounts as revenue, proportionate to the pattern of revenue recognition for the gift card redemptions.”

The change added $36 million, or 2.9%, in “gift card breakage” sales to quarterly revenue. The revenue recognized is significant, accounting for approximately 37.8% of the $95 million consensus revenue beat for the quarter.

Prior to the policy change, unredeemed gift cards would remain liabilities, meaning DoorDash might never recognize revenue from certain cards. Gift card breakage accounting, which allows companies to accelerate revenue recognition of unredeemed cards, has been in place since 2018.

If DoorDash doesn’t apply the change retroactively— it doesn’t say whether it will in the filing— the additional revenue recognized in future periods may make the company’s income statement less comparable. Future financial statement comparisons might also become more difficult should DoorDash’s breakage estimates prove inaccurate:

“Estimating future breakage rates requires judgment based on current and historical patterns of redemption, and the actual breakage rates may vary from the estimate.”
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