Grub Hub, a restaurant delivery service, started in Chicago in 2004, and through a series of acquisitions, has become the nation’s premier restaurant delivery company, representing eateries in 800 US cities and London, England.
About 30,000 restaurants are represented in their online and mobile apps. Peruse the choices available in your area, order food, pay, wait for delivery.
The operation hires car and bicycle delivery persons, who use their own vehicles and are compensated from delivery fees (paid to GrubHub by restaurant ‘partners’), with a minimum guarantee. I wonder how their income compares to Uber and Lyft drivers? Will services like GrubHub be hurt if Uber goes big into delivery?
There are a lot of competitors in this segment, I’ve used a number of them, with Delivered Dish being the one I have the most experience with (and absolutely no complaints).
The other day, I tried GrubHub for the first time, I have looked at it before, but in the area I am ordering from, they didn’t have a very deep selection of restaurants, and they ones they do have, I could just as easily call direct and save a few bucks. Though I do prefer ordering online, as there seems to be less mistakes made in orders, in my experience.
How it happened that I did try GrubHub was that I was sitting around, bored to tears, playing with my phone and looked at their phone app.
Low and behold, and totally weird, there were different restaurants offered on the app than I had seen on the website. My first thought was they had added these restaurants, but checking the website, the ‘new’ ones still weren’t listed.
Intrigued, I ordered a pizza through the phone app, paid, received an estimated delivery time about an hour ahead, and waited for the delivery dude or dudette, who, in reality, showed up ahead of the scheduled time.
My ‘feigned consternation’ about the different listings motivated me to inquire (via Twitter) to GrubHub and ask “what the deal was?”
Which led to a series of D.M.s that didn’t produce a satisfactory answer, the end result of which was that the listings should be the same on both sites.
One clue was produced, however, as to why the difference may occur. Apparently, their algorithms treat searches differently, depending on whether or not you enter your address for a search, or allow your geolocation software take over. Not sure why. If there’s a problem here, it might be because we have all experienced the inaccuracies of online mapping at one time or another.
So woe be to the restaurant owner which might actually be closer to you than one the software picks.
As part of the relationship, GrubHub provides research to restaurants, information that they glean from their customers ordering habits, including food trends, time of day, price point averages and so on. Pretty valuable info, actually.
In theory, GrubHub’s ad budget should increase local restaurant sales, and their in-house technology should improve restaurant operations. They don’t seem to have a very high turnover of restaurant customers, so most must be satisfied with the service.
As was I.
I’d use them again, but I would hope there would be more restaurant choices in my area in the future, and synchronization of the listings between the site and app. I also noticed they list at least one restaurant in my area that has been out of business for some time, which indicates there might not be enough follow up between the sales staff and partner restaurants.
Of course, since GrubHub deals with thousands of restaurants and as many delivery people, your results may vary.