GrubHub – Local Food Delivery Service

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GrubHub Review

GrubHub is a new food delivery service that promises to help you find the best local food in your area – and then order that food for free. Here’s our review of GrubHub.

What is GrubHub?

GrubHub is an online food delivery and restaurant pickup service. Using the online ordering system is pretty straightforward. According to the company, here’s what you do:

Step 1) Search for the type of food you want to eat, or just browse through a list of restaurants and takeout places near you

Step 2) Pick a restaurant by browsing through the website’s reviews and rating system

Step 3) Browse the menu and pick whatever you want to eat and drink, then checkout

Step 4) “Eat your food while basking in the warm glow of time not spent cooking”

Basically, this site lets you order food from local restaurants. Then, you can choose to pick up that food at the restaurant location (which comes at no extra charge) or have it delivered to your address (which costs extra).

The service claims to be active in over 900 cities across America and has a total of 35,000 restaurants. In addition to major cities across America, GrubHub has also expanded to London, UK.

You can order online or download the app for your iPhone or Android device to instantly start ordering food.

About GrubHub

GrubHub calls itself the “nation’s leading online and mobile food ordering company”. The company, originally known as Seamless, was founded back in 1999 by, according to the official about us page “two hungry lawyers, fed up with out-of-date paper menus.”

Seamless would later merge with GrubHub, which was founded by “two hungry web developers”.

Between 2007 and 2011, GrubHub went through four rounds of financing (Series A through D). In 2011, the company used this financing to acquire numerous online competitors, including Dotmenu and MenuPages.

In 2012, GrubHub released its iPad app and introduced two proprietary features: OrderHub (an in-restaurant tablet technology that streamlines the ordering process) and Track Your Grub (provides customers with real-time notifications and order mapping as their food gets prepared).

GrubHub and Seamless would finally merge in May, 2013. GrubHub, Inc. was born, which is why you’re hearing about GrubHub now.

How to Use GrubHub

You can access GrubHub from any computer or mobile device. The company has an app for Android, iPhone, and iPad.

Using the site is straightforward: as mentioned above, you search for what you want to eat, pick a restaurant, select items off that menu, then pick up your food or wait for it to be delivered.

What Do Customers Have to Say?

Customer reviews for GrubHub online seem to either be very bad or very good. On SiteJabber.com, for example, there are 228 one star reviews and 19 five star reviews. Another website, TrustPilot.com, had 37 one star reviews and 400 five star reviews. The first site has a 9% average rating, while the second site has a “Great 8.7/10” rating.

So what’s the truth about GrubHub.com?

The five star and one star reviews have things in common. Negative reviews for GrubHub.com say things like:

— High prices
— Poor customer service (long wait times to solve problems over the phone)
— Food delivered to wrong address
— Food ordered online or over the app and then not delivered 5 to 6 hours later
— Food delivered in poor condition

Most of the poor reviews revolve around delivery-related problems. Based on the reviews, there appears to be confusion as to who charges what for the delivery service. One reviewer claimed the delivery driver told her she owed $25, only to find out that she had already paid for the food on GrubHub.

Meanwhile, the 5 star reviews comment on some of the similar things, including:

— Easy to use and helpful
— Convenient
— Good food
— Get tasty food without having to call people
— “My only complaint is that I wish they would add more restaurants”

Nevertheless, some of the five star reviews seem to have an inexplicable “fakeness” about them. Here’s one review found on TrustPilot (the site with an unusually high proportion of five star reviews):

“The worst part about ordering food is talking to people. Grubhub is a great platform for not having to talk to people- I can order food and take as long as I want and change my mind like thirty times. The updated site's really great, too- I like that restaurant wait times are now right there on the sidebar. That's helpful when making a decision.” – Caitlin

Is that a review from a real customer – or a sales pitch from a company employee? It’s tough to tell.

The GrubHub Built-in Review System Problem

Some one star reviews accuse the GrubHub review system of cheating.

The site’s built-in restaurant review system lets customers see which restaurants are good and which ones are bad. One customer said that he wrote a bad review of a local restaurant using GrubHub. That review was never posted on the GrubHub listing for that restaurant.

Instead, the restaurant has 22 perfect five star reviews – including one review which used the customer’s “very unusual name”, Dane. That reviewer concluded by saying “what slimey management”.

This wasn’t just Dane’s problem: the problem was so noticeable across Seamless (the former name of GrubHub) that Business Insider recently wrote an article about it.

In that article, Business Insider said the following:

“According to Seamless, a cheap Chinese restaurant called Friend House has the best food in midtown Manhattan with a five-star rating after nearly 1,200 reviews. According to Yelp, Friend House is one of the city's worst restaurants with only one-and-a-half stars after 27 reviews.”

Business Insider summed up the problem to a difference in the way GrubHub and Yelp handle reviews. Namely, Yelp has a built-in filter system that helps weed out fake reviews. GrubHub does not.

Making matters worse is that GrubHub also has a page on PissedConsumer.com. That page features 150 reviews for GrubHub for a total of $2,100 in claimed losses ($14 average loss per review).

Ultimately, GrubHub has a major PR problem online that they seem to be battling using over-exaggerated 5 star reviews. In reality, most of the one star reviews from angry customers are related to delivery problems – not pickup issues.

Conclusion: Who Should Use GrubHub?

The new GrubHub wants to fix the poor reputation and poor reviews established by Seamless. Online, GrubHub appears to have two different types of users: those who love GrubHub and its food – and those who had major problems with GrubHub’s delivery services.

The service seems to vary from city to city – so it’s up to you to look up individual reviews for your city and then decide whether or not GrubHub is the right choice for you.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Summary: GrubHub has no sense of accountability, and provides no value add. It's just a website and a lot of hip talk, but it's worse than going on your own. For one, plenty of places don't sign up for GrubHub. And for two, there is no added value by going with GrubHub. In fact, it's worse, as a layer or buck-passing and possible ball-dropping (GrubHub orders are taken through a different system than a restaurant's phone orders) is added into the process.

    Any of the restaurants that work with GrubHub will deliver to you directly. And when you order form them directly, you get accountability. The only value add from GrubHub is a text message or two. When things go sideways – like an order arriving late – calling GrubHub is a waste of time. They just pass the buck back to the vendor. When I asked them why I should even bother with them, when they provide no additional advocacy or accountability, they gave me some hand-waving talk about valuing my feedback and providing comments to vendors, but could not actually establish anything other than “we have an order system on our website” as a reason to go with them. Their customer service people are trained to do nothing more than issue stock apologies and explain to you that you're wrong for wanting more than that from them.

    They talk a good game, but this is another dotcom business that lowers quality of service and personal connection in exchange for the mere illusion of value.

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