Success Crafted

Revolutionizing Food Ordering: The Rise Challenges and Success of Grubhub

Grubhub is an online and mobile food delivery platform that allows you to order food from your favorite restaurants with just a few clicks. The platform, which partners with over 300,000 restaurants in 4,000 U.S. cities, has revolutionized the way people order food.

Apart from making it easier to order food, Grubhub has also helped restaurants increase their revenue by increasing their reach. In this article, we will discuss Grubhub in detail, including its services and partnerships, revenue streams, business model, history, growth, acquisitions, competition, and more.

Overview of Grubhub’s Services and Partnerships

Grubhub’s services allow you to order food from your favorite restaurants online or through their mobile app. All you need is to enter your location, and Grubhub will show you the restaurants nearby.

After selecting your preferred restaurant, you can browse its menu and place your order. Grubhub then forwards your order to the restaurant, and the restaurant prepares the food.

Once the food is ready, a Grubhub delivery driver picks it up and delivers it to you. Grubhub’s proximity feature allows you to order from restaurants that are closest to you, which ensures that your food arrives on time and is still hot.

Grubhub also partners with over 300,000 restaurants across the U.S., which means that you have a wide variety of options to choose from.

Revenue Streams and Business Model

Grubhub makes money by charging a commission fee on each order placed through its platform. The commission fee ranges between 10% and 30% of the overall order value, depending on the restaurant’s partnership agreement with Grubhub.

Grubhub also generates revenue through a premium subscription service, Grubhub+. For $9.99 a month, Grubhub+ members get free delivery, exclusive discounts, and access to unique perks.

History of Grubhub

Grubhub was founded in 2002 in Chicago by Matthew Maloney, Mike Evans, and Roman Gaskill. The trio created Grubhub as a solution to their frustration with the food ordering experience.

They came up with a geographic search feature that would allow users to find restaurants based on their location. The feature was a hit with users, and Grubhub began to grow.

Growth, Acquisitions, and Competition

Grubhub expanded to San Francisco in 2009 and secured venture capital funding. In 2011, Grubhub launched its iPhone and Android app, making it easier for users to order food on the go.

The app’s innovative features, such as ratings and reviews, made it more user-friendly. Apart from expanding its services, Grubhub also acquired several competitors, including Seamless, AllMenus, and MenuPages.

Grubhub merged with Seamless in 2013, and the combined company became the largest online food delivery platform in the U.S.

Grubhub went public in 2014, and its stock prices soared. However, the company faced stiff competition from Amazon, DoorDash, Postmates, and UberEATS.

To stay ahead of the competition, Grubhub continued to innovate, such as introducing the Grubhub+ premium subscription service.


Grubhub has revolutionized the food industry by making it easier to order food from your favorite restaurants. The company’s services and partnerships allow you to order from over 300,000 restaurants in 4,000 U.S. cities.

Grubhub’s revenue streams come from commission fees and the Grubhub+ premium subscription service. Grubhub’s history is a tale of growth and innovation as the company expanded its services, acquired competitors, and went public.

Despite facing stiff competition, Grubhub continues to innovate to stay ahead of its competitors.

Challenges and Controversies

As with any company, Grubhub has faced its fair share of challenges and controversies. This section will discuss two of the most notable ones: legal issues and labor disputes and concerns from restaurant partners and controversies.

Legal Issues and Labor Disputes

In 2019, Grubhub faced a lawsuit filed by a former driver who claimed the company had misclassified her as an independent contractor and thus deprived her of benefits such as overtime pay, minimum wage, and reimbursement for expenses. The court ruled in favor of Grubhub, stating that the driver was an independent contractor as she had control over when and how she worked.

However, the case shone a spotlight on the debate over the legality of gig workers, many of whom work for gig economy companies’ such as Grubhub. Critics argue that these workers should be classified as employees and, thus, granted the benefits that come with employment status.

Aside from legal issues, Grubhub has also faced criticism from some drivers regarding their compensation. Drivers have voiced concerns that the compensation they receive for delivering orders doesn’t adequately cover their expenses, such as gas, maintenance, and car insurance.

Concerns from Restaurant Partners and Controversies

Grubhub has also faced concerns from restaurant partners regarding hidden fees and charges. In 2019, an investigation found that Grubhub charged restaurants for phone orders that did not result in actual orders.

It also allegedly purchased several domain names caon restaurants, such as Papa John’s and the Cheesecake Factory, and redirected them to Grubhub’s website, which could lead to confusion and the illusion that the restaurant was solely available on the Grubhub platform. Grubhub’s market share also faced a decline in 2019, losing ground to competitors such as DoorDash and Uber Eats.

This led to Grubhub ramping up its marketing efforts and retention strategies by offering discounts and promotions to its customers. In 2020, controversy erupted when Grubhub charged Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC and Taco Bell, unexpected fees related to online orders.

The dispute focused on a particular fee that Grubhub charged to Yum Brands, with Grubhub stating the fee had already been in place for years, while Yum Brands argued that they were not alerted to the fee until 2020. The controversy ultimately led to Yum Brands’ decision to seek out new food delivery arrangements.

Grubhub’s Business Model and Revenue Streams

At its core, Grubhub generates revenue by charging commission fees from restaurants on every order placed through its platform. This commission fee ranges from 10% to 30% of the overall order value, depending on the restaurant’s partnership agreement with Grubhub.

Additionally, Grubhub’s fee structure includes various other types of fees, such as prepaid order fees, delivery fees, marketing fees, phone ordering fees, order processing fees, and pay me now fees. Each fee is structured to target different aspects of restaurant operations and to offer a range of options depending on the restaurant’s needs.

In addition to commission fees, Grubhub also generates revenue through its premium subscription service, Grubhub+. Grubhub+ members pay $9.99 per month and are granted unlimited free delivery, cashback, and other perks.

This subscription service has been successful, with tens of thousands of members enrolled. However, Grubhub+ is not without its competition, with other food delivery platforms such as DoorDash and Postmates offering similar services.


While Grubhub has become a household name and revolutionized the food delivery industry, it has also faced a number of challenges and controversies. These include labor disputes and legal issues, concerns raised by restaurant partners, and controversies over the legitimacy of fees and charges.

Nonetheless, Grubhub continues to thrive and invests in new strategies to stay ahead of the competition, such as its premium subscription service, Grubhub+. Funding, Valuation, and Revenue

Grubhub’s success in the food delivery industry has not gone unnoticed by investors.

This section will discuss Grubhub’s funding history and notable investors, as well as its financial performance and valuation.

Funding History and Notable Investors

Since its founding in 2004, Grubhub has raised over $1 billion in funding from various investors. The company’s first funding round took place in 2007, where it raised $1.1 million.

In 2011, Grubhub raised $50 million in Series E funding and $70 million in Series F funding in 2013. Additional funding rounds included $250 million in 2019, $125 million in 2020, and $336 million in 2021.

Grubhub’s notable investors include DAG Ventures, Benchmark, Lightspeed Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price, Temasek Holdings, Wellington Management Company, and Dragoneer Investment Group.

Financial Performance and Valuation

Grubhub went public in 2014 and was valued at $1.72 billion. Its shares quickly soared, reaching $47.86 each by 2018.

However, the market share of Grubhub began to decline due to increased competition from other food delivery competitors. As of 2021, Grubhub’s market capitalization is $6.95 billion.

The company’s revenue has consistently grown year over year, from $1.17 billion in 2018 to $1.31 billion in 2019, representing a growth of over 12%. However, the company’s earnings revealed that it lost $18.7 million in 2019, due to rising expenses, including an increase in advertising and marketing expenses.

Despite the loss, Grubhub’s CEO, Matt Maloney, remained optimistic about the company’s growth potential, noting that “improved marketing efficiencies and product innovation” would lead to greater profitability in the long term. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grubhub’s financial performance saw a notable increase in revenue as consumers increasingly relied on deliveries.

The company also introduced several policies, such as contactless deliveries and deferring commission payments, aimed at supporting its restaurant partners during the pandemic. However, this increased revenue was short-lived as dining establishments eventually reopened, stimulating a steep decline in Grubhub’s revenue in the latter part of 2020.

As of 2021, Grubhub’s financial performance has remained relatively steady, reflecting how the company has adapted to meet market expectations and optimize operations.


Grubhub has a long history of institutional support, with its funding history serving as a testament to the growing investment interest in the food delivery industry. Although the company experienced occasional losses and shifting market dynamics, it has remained optimistic about its long-term prospects, emphasizing the importance of improving efficiency and embracing product innovation.

The COVID-19 pandemic magnified consumers’ reliance on food delivery companies, boosting Grubhub’s revenue, but the reduction in the pandemic’s impact may endanger this trend. Overall, Grubhub has remained successful through its adaptations, and it continues to make an impact in the food delivery industry.

In conclusion, Grubhub has revolutionized the food delivery industry by providing an online and mobile platform for ordering food from a wide range of restaurants. Despite facing challenges and controversies, such as legal disputes and concerns from restaurant partners, Grubhub has maintained its position as a leading player in the market.

Its business model, including commission fees and the Grubhub+ subscription service, has been key to generating revenue. The company’s funding history and valuation highlight its attractiveness to investors.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Grubhub’s financial performance, the company remains resilient and focused on innovation. Grubhub’s journey serves as a lesson in the importance of adaptation and product improvement in a rapidly evolving industry.

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