In the early 2000s in New York and Chicago, two groups of people had the same idea: What if we could order takeout online? In New York, this idea formed into Seamless. In Chicago, it became Grubhub.
At the time, ordering food was a hassle. People were restricted by what menus they had lying about, and paying by card meant reading out numbers on the phone.
Grubhub and Seamless both changed that by uploading restaurant menus online and storing card information, making the process a lot easier. Both charged restaurants 10 percent commission for every order, although that has since risen to more than 30 percent in some cases.
For the first decade, Grubhub and Seamless dominated in their respective markets, but began to encroach on each other’s in the early 2010s as food delivery started to take off. In 2013, the two companies agreed to merge, creating a powerhouse that controlled 70 percent of takeout orders.
As the two merged, a new form of food delivery was beginning to emerge in California, led by Postmates, DoorDash and Uber Eats. Instead of simply aggregating takeaways, these new platforms provided delivery service for restaurant, at a higher commission.
Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney called this “the dumbest business you could ever be in”, as it offered razor-thin margins even with 30 percent commission. But, due to stock market pressure, Grubhub decided to start providing delivery service to some restaurants.
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Grubhub still generates most of its revenue through non-delivery orders, however it has become a larger part of the business. In 2019, the company posted its first ever yearly loss, which Maloney blamed on delivery services and the competitive market.
Since 2015, Grubhub has steadily lost marketshare in the US, as Uber Eats and DoorDash claimed more users. From a high of 70 percent, Grubhub sits at less than 20 percent marketshare in 2020, behind DoorDash at 45 percent and Uber Eats (with Postmates) at 30 percent.
Even with this loss of marketshare, Grubhub has continued to generate more revenue every year since going public. It has climbed from $500 million in 2016 to $1.8 billion in 2020.
Grubhub has, like most food delivery apps in the US, had its fair share of controversy. It has been criticised for setting up phony websites of local businesses and earning commission from routed phone calls, which may have not ended in a purchase.
In 2020, Uber approached Grubhub with an acquisition offer, after failing to acquire DoorDash. At the same time, Just Eat Takeaway launched a $7.1 billion bid, which Grubhub accepted in June 2020.
The acquisition adds a new source of funding for Grubhub to continue competing with DoorDash and Uber Eats in the low-margin market of food delivery. The combined company generated $4.65 billion in revenue in 2020. We expect Grubhub will remain an independent business.
We have collected data and statistics on Grubhub. To find out more, read on below.
Grubhub key statistics
- Grubhub generated $1.8 billion revenue in 2020, a 39 percent increase year-on-year
- Grubhub reported a net lost of $155 million in 2020, its largest loss since it went public in 2013
- In 2020, Grubhub had 31.4 million active users, who use the app at least once a month
|People||Matthew Maloney (co-founder, CEO), Adam DeWitt (President, CFO), Maria Belousova (CTO)|
|Parent company||Just Eat Takeaway|
Note: Grubhub merged with Seamless in 2013, which is why revenue tripled
Source: TechCrunch, Grubhub
Note: Parentheses indicates loss.
Grubhub food sales
Grubhub Orders Per Day
|Year||Orders per day|
Grubhub US marketshare
Grubhub US food delivery marketshare vs competitors
Want to learn more? Check out our food delivery report
How many people deliver food for Grubhub?
Over 65,000 people delivery food for Grubhub
How many people do Grubhub employ?
Grubhub employ 2,750 full time staff to work on the website and app
What is Grubhub and Seamless’ marketshare in New York?
According to Recode, 90 percent of food deliveries are made by Grubhub or Seamless in the state (Recode)
Where does Grubhub hold the most marketshare in the US?
Alongside New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and Jacksonville all prefer Grubhub
How much did Just Eat Takeaway pay for Grubhub?
Grubhub was acquired by Just Eat Takeaway for $7.1 billion
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