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How Does Grubhub Work? A Guide for New Users

Everyone gets hungry, but sometimes you’re stuck somewhere, and you can’t leave to get food. Do you starve? Enter GrubHub.

You may have recently become more in-tune with food delivery apps. If you research the most popular food delivery apps, you’ll find there are numerous options to choose from, with popular options including DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Caviar, Shipt, and Instacart.

Today, we’re going to review one of the most prominent of these apps, Grubhub. If you’ve asked yourself questions like, “How does Grubhub work?,” you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using Grubhub as your food delivery service.


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What Is Grubhub?

Grubhub is a delivery company that allows you to order food from your favorite restaurant and have it delivered in real time. The company has more than 300,000 restaurants in its network, spanning more than 3,200 cities in the United States. The company recently expanded overseas as well and is beginning to establish itself in London.

Matt Maloney and Michael Evans first founded Grubhub in 2004. The company is currently headquartered in Chicago. In 2019, Grubhub as a company was responsible for providing nearly $6 billion in gross food sales to local restaurants. Around 22 million people use Grubhub, and the company processes approximately 500,000 orders daily.

Although the Grubhub app is the most recognizable in its portfolio, other food delivery services fall under the Grubhub business model. Grubhub, as a parent company, also owns:

  • Seamless
  • Allmenus
  • LevelUp
  • MenuPages

How Does Grubhub Work?

Grubhub works by connecting patrons to their favorite restaurants, all from the convenience of an online website or mobile app. The Grubhub app is available for both iOS and Android smartphones.

As a consumer, you start by browsing the selection of restaurants available for delivery in your area. Then, you place your order. You place orders directly with Grubhub, as opposed to having to call the restaurant.

After placing your order, Grubhub dispatches a delivery driver to pick up your food and deliver it to your home. Grubhub drivers work as independent contractors, meaning they are not employees of the company. However, the company allows drivers to schedule drive times, which qualifies them for more work and higher earnings.

The process is that simple. Although the number of restaurants varies from area to area — for instance, there are far more restaurants available in New York City than there are in Billings, Montana — Grubhub is convenient because it is a one-stop-shop for food delivery from lots of local restaurants.

How to Get Started Using Grubhub

How does Grubhub work: the Grubhub sign in page

Getting started on Grubhub is as straightforward as signing up, creating your account, and placing your order. Start by either visiting the Grubhub website or downloading the company’s mobile app. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to create an account.

When creating an account, you can choose to enter a default payment method. Doing so streamlines the ordering process. It also allows you to connect Grubhub with your Amazon Alexa devices and order with a simple command. Think, “Hey Alexa, use Grubhub to place my favorite delivery order at Terry’s Thai.” In an instant, your order will be on its way.

After you’ve set up your account, you’re ready to place your order. You can either enter your location to see available restaurants nearby. Or, you can search by a specific restaurant name to see if your favorite appears.

Once you’ve selected a restaurant, a menu will appear. You can scroll through this menu and add your desired items to the cart. Once you’re all set, select “Checkout” to complete the order. From there, sit back and wait. Grubhub will show you your expected delivery time and allow you to track your order as it’s on its way.

After your order is complete, you have the opportunity to leave a review. Not only can you review the quality of the food, you can also indicate things like whether your food was delivered on time. These ratings are available for others in the Grubhub community to see.

Frequently Asked Questions

Using a food delivery app for the first time can be a bit confusing. The following questions will give you more insight into how Grubhub works.

1. How much does Grubhub cost?

There are a couple of different factors that influence how much Grubhub costs. The biggest one is the amount of food that you order. In that regard, you’re very much in control of the cost.

However, the restaurant has some leeway in determining pricing as well. For instance, restaurants have the option of setting a minimum order amount. Most minimum order amounts apply directly to menu items. Minimum amounts are the price before taxes, tips, or delivery fees.

Additionally, restaurants are in charge of setting the delivery fee. These typically range from $4-$8 but can vary significantly. So, watch out for this when placing your order.

Lastly, as is the case with other food delivery services, you’re encouraged to tip your driver. The tips go directly to the driver. They are also separate from delivery fees, which go to the restaurant. You should not deduct the amount of the delivery fee from your overall tip. Generally speaking, you should consider tipping $5 or 20% of your meal price, whichever is greater.

2. How can I pay on Grubhub?

One of the things that stands out about Grubhub is the wide array of payment options. The app takes all major credit cards, including:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Discover
  • American Express

Additionally, the company accepts Grubhub gift cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, PayPal, Venmo, and Amex Express Checkout. Some restaurants will also allow you to pay cash, although this is not the case with every establishment.

3. How to cancel GrubHub Order

Within the app, select the order you wish to cancel to bring up the contents. Within the order, you’ll see a button that says “Cancel.” Press this, your order is canceled! It’s a good idea if you’re canceling the order to call the restaurant directly first. Since GrubHub acts as a middleman by the time they call the restaurant your food may already be on the way. The money will take 3-5 days to be refunded after you cancel an order.

Is GrubHub legit?

Yes. When it comes to food delivery this is one of the most popular apps around. The issues that the company has usually crop up in peak time. While it might take a few days to get a refund when you’ve canceled an order, it will happen, and if not, you can contact customer service to chase it up.

GrubHub is a publicly traded company on the NYSE which means that they’re owned by shareholders like most other large companies.

4. Is GrubHub safe?

GrubHub is a legitimate business and a popular app. The drivers and phone reps have to pass background checks for criminal activity before they’re hired. While there’s always a risk that someone slipped through, the company tries to listen to complaints and follow up on suggestions. You may ask for a driver not to be used for your delivery again but there are no guarantees. If you’re really concerned, you can pay for your delivery using PayPal, so the company will never see your credit card information.

3. Does Grubhub only deliver food?

In some locations, Grubhub delivers alcohol in addition to food. However, Grubhub does not exist as a courier service. It’s designed specifically to deliver food from your favorite local restaurants. If you’re looking for an app that will drop off your dry cleaning, you’ll want to consider something like Postmates instead.

4. How can I trust my Grubhub delivery driver?

Grubhub requires all of its drivers to pass a background check before they can begin working for the company. The company has basic requirements in place for its drivers as well. Delivery persons must:

  • Be at least 19 years old
  • Have at least two years of driving experience
  • Carry a valid driver’s license and car insurance
  • Own a smartphone with a data plan

Upon application, Grubhub takes the individual’s driver’s license to conduct both driving and criminal background checks. These checks consider a person’s previous seven-year history. Grubhub uses Checkr, a company that specializes in conducting background checks for the on-demand gig worker economy.

5. What if my favorite restaurant is not on Grubhub?

Grubhub is continually working to add more restaurants to its platform. If your favorite restaurant is not on Grubhub, you can fill out a request form. Then, someone from the Grubhub team will contact the restaurant to get it added.

6. Does Grubhub only exist for delivery?

Not necessarily, no. If you’d like, you can pick up food instead of having it delivered. When you’re checking out, you can indicate that the food is for pickup. The restaurant will let you know when the food will be ready, allowing you to grab it at your convenience. You’ll need to have a form of identification available to verify the order when picking up.

Unfortunately, not every restaurant offers pickup. Grubhub has a map that allows you to see pickup locations nearby. You can also use this map to obtain directions to the establishment.

7. Can I schedule an order?

Absolutely! Grubhub allows you to schedule an order up to four days in advance. You can change your order up four hours before the selected delivery time.

Is Grubhub the Delivery Service for You?

How does Grubhub work: the Grubhub homepage

If you’re looking for a reliable delivery platform for your takeout, then Grubhub is worth your consideration. The company has roughly a third of the food delivery market share in the United States. We like the fact that there are more than 300,000 restaurants in the network.

Although the company does not operate as a courier service, if you’re looking for food delivery that is simple and reliable, then Grubhub is worth looking into. Be sure to research beforehand to make sure your favorite restaurants are available on the app before setting up your account.

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  1. Glenda

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