Grubhub Food Delivery Service: Pros, Cons, and Logistics

FT Contributor  | 

These days, the desire to have everything from fresh cookies, to fast food and meals from your favorite restaurants delivered straight to your door has become easier than ever. Long gone are the days of only pizza and chinese food being available for delivery with companies like Grubhub partnering with an ever expanding list of our favorite eateries.

The rapidly growing online food delivery service provides a quick and easy solution to eating whatever food you’re interested in — without ever needing to grab your keys or even change out of your pajamas.

First Time Purchase Incentives?

With so many different food delivery options available to the consumer, first-time purchase incentives and “discounts” are commonly found to help companies stay competitive and acquire new customers. 

Currently Grubhub is offering Free Delivery with purchases over $15 for new customers. Be sure to check Grubhub.com frequently, as their first time customer discounts and incentives may vary. 

Grubhub also offers exclusive non-stop deals through their app download.

What Is Grubhub?

At its core, Grubhub specializes in facilitating the order and delivery of restaurant food. 

The company has integrated over 300,000 different restaurants into its order and delivery system. These are scattered across over 4,000 different U.S. cities and there are even some across the pond in London, to boot.

Grubhub processes hundreds of thousands of orders each day and delivers billions of dollars in food to nearly 24 million diners each year.

While the company is already successful on its own, a potential merger with Uber, which already operates the competing UberEats label, could make it the largest food-delivery platform of its kind.

How Does Grubhub Work?

Grubhub gets you your grub via an online application that can be accessed anywhere there’s internet available, via a computer or mobile device. Through this app, customers can order food from nearly any local restaurant they choose (as long as it’s part of the extensive Grubhub network). 

Once ordered, the food is prepared and then can either be picked up by the purchaser or hand-delivered by a Grubhub courier — for an additional fee, of course. In fact, food delivery is one of the most popular occupations for those currently looking for a side hustle in the gig economy.

How to Use Grubhub

If you’re looking for a step-by-step understanding of what the Grubhub experience looks like, you can typically break things down into four stages:

1. Browse

You’ll need to start by going to the Grubhub website or opening up the app on your phone. From there, you’ll create an account or simply sign in once you already have one.

Next, you’ll need to type in your current address to see what options you have nearby. Once the app knows your location, you’ll be presented with a smorgasbord of different dining options. 

You can narrow the search by looking for a specific food or even searching for a restaurant directly within their database. If you’re considering patronizing a new location, make sure to check their star ratings as you go.

2. Place an Order

After you’ve found the restaurant you want to order from, it’s time to place your order. Once you choose a restaurant, peruse their menu and select the foods you’re interested in. 

You’ll also be able to include special instructions, such as adding extra sauce or holding the onions.

Finally, choose if the order is for pickup or delivery. If it’s the latter, specify whether it is being delivered to your home, work, or another location.

3. Payment Options

When you have your order ready, proceed to the payment screen. Fill out your contact info and your address. You’ll also have a space to include any additional instructions if you’re having the food delivered, such as having the driver call you when they arrive or selecting a contactless delivery.

Next, select between a gift card, credit card, or PayPal account. If you have a promo code, you can use it here as well. Then it’s time to place the order.

4. Wait

At this point, your order is placed, and the last step is to wait for it to be ready. If you’re picking up the order, you only have to wait long enough to time your arrival around when the food would be finished.

If the food is being delivered, it takes a little bit more time. Fortunately, Grubhub will give you an estimate on the delivery window when you place the order.

How Much Does Grubhub Cost?

Grubhub primarily makes their money by taking a small commission from each order as well as a portion of the delivery fee (the rest goes to the driver). Thus, the cost of using Grubhub will typically be the cost of:

  • The food itself.
  • Any applicable sales tax.
  • The Grubhub delivery and service fees.
  • The tip that you decide to give your driver.

The recommended driver tip defaults to 20% of the order, although you can adjust it to a custom percentage if you like.

The total will vary for each order, depending on the size of the order, the size of the delivery fee (which can vary from one restaurant to the next), the quality of the tip, and the potential sales tax involved.

Delivery fees and inflated menu prices, in particular, can add up quickly. For instance, while Grubhub is affordable in comparison to some of its competitors, one review by the New York Times found that ordering a simple six-inch turkey breast sub from Subway led to a $1.99 delivery fee, a $1.29 service fee, and nearly twice as much tax as the restaurant charged. The total ended up increasing the price of the food by 25%.

Should I Use Grubhub?

Grubhub comes with a variety of different pros and cons and deciding whether or not to use it to get your grub should depend on each individual situation.

On the one hand, Grubhub is a good choice because:

  • First time purchase incentive: Grubhub currently offers FREE delivery on purchases over $15 for new customers (incentives & discounts may vary).
  • It’s accessible: All you need is an internet connection and a credit card.
  • It’s convenient: The food comes right to you, wherever you are.
  • It gives you options: You can see the product offerings of hundreds of restaurants in your area.

On the other hand, reasons not to use Grubhub include the fact that:

  • You’re on a budget: Grubhub can add $10 or more to a food order, making it an expensive proposition on a regular basis.
  • You don’t have the tech or money on hand: If you don’t have an internet connection or only have cash, you can’t order using the app.
  • You’re too hungry: The added delivery time means you may have to wait an hour or more for your food to reach you.

Each situation is different. Take the time to consider the pros and cons of your particular scenario and then go about ordering your food with confidence.


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