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What Is Grubhub? How Does Grubhub Work? A Detailed Guide for New Users

If you're new to Grubhub and wondering just how does Grubhub work, learn to use the app and start ordering your favorite food.

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 DoorDashUber EatsPostmatesCaviarShipt, 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.

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:

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, Grubhub is convenient because it is a one-stop-shop for food delivery from lots of local restaurants.

Finstance, there are far more restaurants available in New York City than there are in Billings, Montana.

Related: 6 Grubhub alternatives worth trying

How Does Grubhub Work for Restaurants?

Grubhub partners with restaurants to help them get food to customers without needing to hire additional delivery drivers.

Grubhub hires drivers and runs background checks, so the restaurant knows the couriers are reliable.

Using a third party like Grubhub takes a lot of pressure off the restaurant.

They don’t have to hire and vet delivery drivers.

Their employees can focus on making food and serving patrons in the restaurant’s physical location.

The restaurant can reach more customers through Grubhub.

People who can’t get to the restaurant can still order food, so the establishment still makes a profit.

In some cases, the restaurant might gain new customers through the Grubhub app.

Users can search nearby locations or scroll through the offerings, so the restaurant’s profile might catch their eye.

The Grubhub app is easy for businesses to use.

The restaurant dashboard includes interactive features like point-of-sale options and the chance to request couriers when orders come in.

There’s also a way to see financial reports to help owners see if the Grubhub partnership is paying off.

How Does Grubhub Work for Consumers?

Customers love the Grubhub app for the different options it offers.

Sometimes picking a restaurant is the hardest part of finding dinner.

Having search filters can help you make a decision.

You can look for the restaurants closest to you.

This feature is best if you’ve placed a pickup order and don’t want to trek across town.

You can also filter results according to how long it’ll take the restaurant to prepare your food.

Or you can check out all participating restaurants and scroll until you see something that will satisfy your craving.

Of course, if you already know what you want, you can search for it directly.

Choosing your meal is as easy as adding the food to your order.

You can then customize things as the restaurant offers or enter special instructions for the courier.

When you place the order, you’re able to track its progress through the app.

You’ll know when it’s ready at the restaurant and when it’s on its way to your door.

Once you start using Grubhub, the app keeps track of your order history, payment information, and contact information.

This saved information streamlines the process for future orders.

How Does Grubhub Work for Couriers?

Grubhub drivers are independent contractors who make their own hours.

Drivers can choose to work when they have free time or select scheduled orders in advance.

You can see how much you’ll make per order so you can figure out if it’s worth it.

You can also check for orders in certain areas to maximize your efficiency.

Since Grubhub isn’t your official employer, you’ll have to pay your own self-employment taxes.

The payments are quarterly installments to prevent paying the penalty at tax time.

You’re also responsible for gas and car maintenance since you’re using your own vehicle for the job.

These responsibilities can seem like a lot of extra work, so Grubhub offers incentives for drivers.

They have a rewards program that offers discounts for partner companies.

Some perks relate to car maintenance, which is a great benefit since you’re using your car for work!

In terms of delivering, couriers have a different interface on their Grubhub app.

They’ll see options to select an order for pickup and mark it as complete after they finish the delivery.

There’s also a built-in GPS to eliminate problems with finding the correct restaurant location or the customer’s address.

How To Use Grubhub

Using Grubhub is very straightforward and user-friendly.

Once you get started, you’ll have no problem searching for your favorite restaurants or finding a new place to try.

Placing your order and waiting for delivery is simple after you’ve established your account.

How to Download the Grubhub App

You can download the Grubhub app for either Android or iOS devices, so it’s easy to use on any platform.

Search for it on the App Store or Google Play.

You can even download it directly from the Grubhub website.

It doesn’t take long to download the app.

As soon as you have it installed, you can open it up and find your next meal.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to create an account.

How does Grubhub work: the Grubhub sign in page

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.

How to Order From Grubhub

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.

Everything goes through the app, so you don’t have to worry about contacting the restaurant to pay or giving your credit card information to the courier.

Related: How far does Grubhub deliver?

Tracking and Reviewing Your Order

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.

You can also look back at your review history before your next order so you remember what you liked about certain places.

How Much Does Grubhub Cost?

Grubhub makes money by charging fees on each order.

These costs include delivery fees plus a portion of the order cost.

You might think that impacts the price of the food on the app but read on to find out how these financials work out for the customer.

Delivery Fees

Grubhub delivery fees can range from $1 to $10, but the average is about $5.

The delivery fee can vary based on your location.

If you live far from the restaurant, you’ll pay a higher delivery fee to compensate the courier for their time and mileage.

Big cities often have higher delivery fees.

If you live in a major market like New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, you’ll pay more.

Thankfully, there’s no change to the delivery fee based on the size of your order.

Are Food Items Marked Up on Grubhub?

The restaurant owner can set their prices on Grubhub, so if there’s a mark-up, it’s to ensure they’re making money from the deal.

After all, they pay a service fee for the restaurant to use Grubhub, so customers shoulder some of that expense.

Grubhub has no say in how much restaurants charge for food.

Grubhub does take a portion of the order cost, though, both from the restaurant and from the customer.

They also take a percentage of the delivery fees.

But these fees don’t impact the cost of the food items themselves.

Grubhub+ Membership

A Grubhub+ membership is a subscription that pays for itself if you order often.

The delivery fees add up after several orders, and Grubhub+ eliminates that fee.

Any order over $12 won’t have a delivery fee, and many select restaurants cut their fee as well.

Through Grubhub+, the company matches all donations to No Kid Hungry.

Round your order up to the next dollar, and that change goes to charity—and Grubhub matches it.

Instead of guilting yourself for ordering out instead of cooking at home, you can feel good about making a difference.

You also earn rewards with every Grubhub+ order you place. Over time you can earn impressive discounts on food delivery.

The membership is $9.99 a month, with a free 14-day trial.

If you use Grubhub frequently, the subscription will pay for itself in no time.

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. Does Grubhub work differently than competitors?

Yes, Grubhub worked differently than competitors.

The app started back in 2004 when it was one of the only delivery services.

Since then, companies like DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates have taken the market by storm.

Other services have more specific focuses or regions, like Caviar and Waitr, but are still competitors.

Grubhub stands out in the field because of all they offer customers and drivers.

The company partners with so many restaurants that it has a reputation as a pillar in the market.

This outreach also allows them to provide special deals and coupons.

They often offer free delivery on orders and surge pricing for drivers.

However, if you’re looking at the basic app and business model, it works very much like the previously-mentioned competitors.

Users know how to download an app, search for a restaurant, and order a meal.

There’s no need to change something that works so well.

The difference comes in the financial benefits Grubhub grants customers and couriers.

2. How does Grubhub make money?

Grubhub is a for-profit company.

The app isn’t just a framework for restaurants to list their food and drivers to pick up orders.

Grubhub takes a small percentage from each financial transaction they facilitate.

About 300,000 restaurants across the United States partner with Grubhub.

You can use the app in more than 4,000 US cities.

This widespread access is convenient for customers and drivers and means the company is making a healthy profit.

Restaurants that partner with Grubhub pay a commission per order placed through the app.

Grubhub also charges customers a fee when they place an order.

They take a percentage of the driver’s income as well.

The app makes money through Grubhub+, too.

The subscription service charges $9.99 a month for free delivery on eligible orders, special coupons, and other perks.

If you order from Grubhub a lot, you can save money on delivery fees.

But most of this fee goes directly to Grubhub as profit.

3. 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.

4. How to cancel GrubHub Order?

When you want to cancel Grubhub orders, the process is simple.

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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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:

1. Be at least 19 years old
2. Have at least two years of driving experience
3. Carry a valid driver’s license and car insurance
4. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

1 thought on “What Is Grubhub? How Does Grubhub Work? A Detailed Guide for New Users”

  1. I have not yet used this service, but I am researching food delivery services at this time. If this is supposed to be an article for everything a first time user needs to know, why don’t you explain that after a 14 day trial this becomes a subscription service of $9.99 per month? I think that that is a very important thing that you should point out to a first time user. If I hadn’t just found that out before reading this article I would be very surprised to have found that out if just signing up being dependent upon this article. I had just asked some one yesterday if this service was free and they told me that it was. I didn’t think that it was that easy that’s why I was researching it and found out that it was a subscription. So you should definitely mention that on top of all those other fees that you spoke about.


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