Grubhub is an on-demand food and grocery delivery platform that allows customers to order meals from restaurants and supermarkets in proximity.
The company, which is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, was founded in 2004 by Jason Finger, Matt Maloney, and Mike Evans.
The founders launched the business out of their own frustrations with ordering food online. However, Grubhub initially began as a simple listing marketplace, allowing restaurants to advertise their offerings.
In 2015, due to increasing pressure from delivery startups, Grubhub pivoted its business model to work together with drivers that work for the company on a contractual basis.
Two years prior, Grubhub had merged with Seamless to create the undisputed (yet temporary) leader in online meal ordering. Their market domination enabled the combined company to go public in April 2014, raising $192.5 million in the process.
Grubhub, during its life as a private company, had previously raised $84 million from investors such as Benchmark and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company, in order to keep up with the ever-increasing competition (more on that later), decided to sell itself in June 2020 to European food delivery giant Just Eat Takeaway for $7.3 billion.
In recent times, Just Eat Takeaway has contemplated selling Grubhub after facing pressure from investors to explore strategic deals. Months before, Grubhub also expanded into grocery delivery, which severely cut into the platform’s margins.
Grubhub, despite those setbacks, remains one of the leading meal delivery services in the United States. In 2021, it generated $2.67 billion in revenue. The firm currently accounts for around 14 percent of all online food delivery sales in the country.
Grubhub, furthermore, employs around 6,000 people. It counts 320,000 restaurants as partners and is available in 4,000 cities across the United States, allowing it to serve over 80 percent of households in the nation. Its iOS app alone has been rated over 3.5 million times.
The methodology with which competitors of Grubhub are ranked is based on publicly available information. Data points such as the revenue generated, the number of employees, the number of cities served or drivers on the platform, app downloads, and anything else in between will be considered.
Consequently, only competition in the United States will be taken into account since this is the only market that Grubhub operates in. Additionally, we will assess competitors in both the grocery as well as meal delivery space. However, given the firm’s history, most of them will come from the food delivery industry.
Lastly, this analysis should not be seen as an endorsement of any particular service. It merely acts as an overview of all the competition that Grubhub faces as of today.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 10 competitors of Grubhub.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States Founder(s): Andy Fang, Evan Moore, Stanley Tang, Tony Xu Year Founded: 2013
DoorDash is the leading restaurant delivery service in the United States, accounting for close to 60 percent of all online food sales.
It has since expanded into other countries (such as Australia and Japan), acquired competitors (e.g., Wolt for $8.1 billion), and created a variety of business lines (including catering, grocery delivery, or logistics services).
Its journey, however, wasn’t always that straightforward. In 2016, after facing intense legal pressure due to its handling of contractual workers as well as a cooled-down venture market, the company had to raise money at a significantly decreased valuation – and almost went bankrupt altogether.
Luckily, DoorDash managed to pull through. It has now over two million couriers delivering meals, groceries, and anything else in between. An additional 6,000 people are employed by DoorDash on a full-time basis.
Moreover, DoorDash raised $2.5 billion during its startup life and another $3.4 billion when it went public in December 2020. In 2021 alone, the company generated $4.8 billion in revenue. The company is currently valued at around $30 billion.
Sources: Crunchbase, DoorDash, Second Measure
2. Uber Eats
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States Founder(s): Uber Year Founded: 2014
Uber Eats is the food delivery subsidiary of the transportation giant Uber. The platform was initially launched in 2014 as UberFRESH and, a year later, renamed to Uber Eats.
Uber Eats is now live in over 6,000 cities across 45 countries. That makes it the planet’s most extensive food delivery platform in terms of coverage. The parent company, unfortunately, does not disclose how many couriers are working for Uber Eats specifically.
In 2021, Uber Eats generated $8.3 billion in revenue. The United States naturally remains its strongest market where it accounts for 24 percent of all meal delivery sales (only trailing DoorDash).
Uber also expanded their partnership with on-demand pharmacy service Nimble and acquired alcohol delivery company Drizly, giving it a stronger foothold in additional business lines. It can be expected that those services, especially Drizly, will eventually be integrated into the main Uber Eats app.
Uber Eats, furthermore, works together with more than 600,000 restaurants. Its iOS app has been rated an impressive 5.3 million times.
Sources: App Store, Second Measure, Uber
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States Founder(s): Bastian Lehmann, Sam Street, Sean Plaice Year Founded: 2011
Postmates started out as an on-demand delivery service that would deliver anything from groceries to technology products. Its goal was to solve the last-mile delivery problem by tapping into an army of contract drivers. In 2015, it even partnered with Apple to deliver its products to customers in the San Francisco region.
Unfortunately, that vision never fully materialized. After Uber acquired the service for $2.7 billion in July 2020, it fully pivoted towards food delivery.
Prior to the takeover, Postmates was one of the hottest startups in the delivery space. It raised $763 million in funding over a span of nine years.
Postmates remains one of the leading restaurant delivery services in the United States, though. It still accounts for about three percent of all food delivery sales in the country. 500,000 restaurants are part of its platform.
Its service is available in 3,500 cities in the country, which allows Postmates to serve 70 percent of all households in the United States. Its iOS app has been reviewed 1.8 million times on top of that.
Sources: App Store, Crunchbase, Postmates, Second Measure
Headquarters: Playa Vista, California, United States Founder(s): Christopher Webb, Eric Jaffe Year Founded: 2010
ChowNow, instead of taking a cut from restaurant partners and cutting into their profit margins, generates revenue by imposing affordable subscription fees on those restaurants. Those fees don’t increase as the restaurant grows, thereby allowing it to boost its margins with every new order.
ChowNow, furthermore, provides restaurants with a variety of tools to expand their existing business. For example, its Order Better Network allows them to advertise their offering and sell them directly on other platforms such as Google, OpenTable, Nextdoor, Yelp, and others.
The company, which has raised $64 million in funding thus far, works together with over 20,000 restaurants in the United States and Canada.
Additionally, close to 500 people are employed by ChowNow. Its consumer-facing app has been reviewed another 15,000 times.
Sources: App Store, ChowNow, Crunchbase
Headquarters: New York City, United States Founder(s): Andy Appelbaum, Jason Finger, Paul Appelbaum, Todd Arky Year Founded: 1999
Seamless is another OG in the online food space. Much like Grubhub, it began as a restaurant listing marketplace. In 2013, it merged with Grubhub to create the leading food ordering platform (that was until DoorDash and Uber Eats disrupted the market) in the United States.
One of the reasons why the two decided to merge was to decrease their respective cash burns. After all, they had spent tens of millions in advertising to entice customers to switch over.
Additionally, the two companies were stronger in different parts of the nation. While Grubhub maintained a strong foothold in the Midwest, Seamless had traditionally been popular in bigger cities such as New York. The merger, at least until DoorDash and Uber Eats came along, created the leading meal ordering service in the country.
These days, most of its employees are part of Grubhub (or Just Eat Takeaway.com, to be more precise). One strong indicator is the fact that Seamless doesn’t even have its own ‘About’ page and actually links to the Grubhub website.
Nevertheless, the company still has a strong foothold on the East Coast where it originated. Its iOS app, for example, was reviewed close to 450,000 times.
Sources: App Store
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States Founder(s): Abel Lin, Andy Zhang, Jason Wang, Richard Din, Shawn Tsao Year Founded: 2012
Caviar is another food delivery business that has been acquired by a larger player in the industry. In March 2019, it was purchased by DoorDash for $410 million. Square had previously acquired Caviar in August 2014 for $90 million in stock compensation.
The service, despite claims from Caviar employees that Square and DoorDash were mistreating them over acquisition offers, remains a meaningful player in the North American market. It accounts for around one percent of all meal delivery sales.
DoorDash, furthermore, has integrated Caviar’s offering into its own platform. For example, DashPass members also get to take advantage of free deliveries and other discounts on the Caviar app.
Caviar continues to employ around 400 people. Moreover, its iOS app has been reviewed around 150,000 times.
Sources: App Store, LinkedIn, TechCrunch, The Verge
Headquarters: New York City, United States Founder(s): Paul Geller Year Founded: 2004
Another staple on this list is delivery.com, which brands itself as your friendly neighborhood delivery service. Consumers can order a variety of items, namely ready-made meals, alcohol, and other types of groceries.
This delivery service works with independent contractors to deliver food to private individuals as well as businesses. Over 19,000 merchants are now part of the Delivery.com platform.
The company, at least thus far, has opted against raising outside funding. Despite its frugality, it has been able to reach 2,400+ cities in the United States, three million users, and generated 30 million orders thus far. Additionally, around 500 people are employed by delivery.com on a full-time basis.
Sources: Delivery.com, LinkedIn
Headquarters: Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States Founder(s): Addison Killebrew, Chris Meaux, Evan Diaz De Arce, Manuel Rivero Year Founded: 2013
The last pure meal delivery company on this list is Waitr whose history is quite tumultuous, to say the least. Waitr went public in November 2018 after merging with blank check company Landcadia Holdings in a $308 million deal.
In both 2019 and 2022, it faced pressure to be delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange after its share price fell below $1. The company also went through various leadership changes. This culminated in the layoffs of 2,300 W-2 delivery drivers in February 2020, which were ultimately replaced by independent contractors.
Despite the heaps of issues, Waitr still accounts for around one percent of all online meal sales, in large part due to its strong presence in the south of the country. It also owns another food delivery app called Bite Squad, which it acquired back in January 2018 for $321 million.
In 2021, Waitr generated around $182 million in revenue, up from the $177 million it generated the year prior. Average daily orders for the year were 32,859.
Sources: Seeking Alpha, Waitr
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States Founder(s): Apoorva Mehta, Brandon Leonardo, Max Mullen Year Founded: 2012
Instacart competes with Grubhub not only in grocery deliveries, which it is primarily known for but also in the meal delivery space. Since January 2020, it has offered ready-made meals. Exactly two years later, it introduced its Ready Meals hub.
The company works with grocery chains such as Albertsons, ALDI, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Loblaw, Publix, Sam’s Club, and others. To do that, it taps into a network of more than 100,000 drivers. As of today, Instacart is the second most popular grocery delivery service in the United States.
In order to get the business, which is currently valued at $24 billion, off the ground, tons of capital was needed. More precisely, Instacart has raised $2.9 billion in funding thus far. Despite internal turmoil, which led to the departure of its founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta, the company is still going strong.
In 2021, it generated revenues of $1.8 billion, up from the $1.5 billion Instacart made in 2020. Close to 15,000 people are employed by the company whose iOS app has been reviewed 2.3 million times. The service is available in more than 5,000 cities across Canada and the United States. Instacart currently expects to go public sometime in 2022.
Sources: App Store, Barrons, Crunchbase, Instacart, Linkedin
10. Walmart Grocery
Headquarters: Bentonville, Arkansas, United States Founder(s): Sam Walton Year Founded: 1962
Walmart is the leading grocery delivery service in the US with a market share of just over 48 percent. Customers can either pick up their order in one of its 4,700+ stores or have it delivered by third-party drivers. Consequently, Walmart also offers dozens of ready-made meals as part of its Walmart+ membership.
Walmart initially launched the service back in 2019 in Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Vero Beach, Florida. After a successful test phase, it officially unveiled Walmart+ in September 2020. It has since expanded across North America and aims to reach 30 million households by the end of 2022.
At a price of $98 per year or $12.95 monthly, the Walmart service provides many services. For non-food-related products, Walmart also delivers pharmaceuticals and conducts repairs on behalf of the customer.
Thanks to advances in wearable technology, even when the customer isn’t home at the time of delivery, Walmart can securely take deliveries inside their homes by using cameras that are attached to the employee.
Its goal with the program is to compete against Amazon’s Prime membership. To do that, Walmart offers a variety of features such as unlimited free deliveries on orders over $35, member prices on fuel at Walmart and Murphy stations, and access to mobile scan-and-go so you can pay as you shop in store.
Sources: CNBC, Second Measure, Walmart