Seamless vs Grubhub: What’s the Difference?

If you want to get food delivered, then you’re going to use whichever food delivery service offers the best price, restaurant selection, and overall experience. As such, it’s understandable that you’d do some research to make your choice. In the course of this research, you’ve probably come across the companies Seamless and Grubhub.

If you’re particularly observant, you may have noticed that the two companies’ websites look quite similar (as does the list of cities where they deliver). This may have left you wondering about the difference between the two companies. Is there a difference beyond the name? Is one company better than the other? In this article, we’re going to look at the answers to these questions.

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What Are Grubhub and Seamless?

Grubhub and Seamless are both food delivery companies that allow you to place on-demand orders online or through a mobile app. You can browse menus from your favorite local restaurants, select the items you want, and then pay within the app.

Once you’ve placed your order, a delivery person will pick up your food from the restaurant and bring it to your door. You can then tip the driver in cash or through the app if you want to reward them for excellent customer service. Both companies offer gift cards and occasional promo codes that enable you to get discounts on your deliveries.

Two Services, One Parent Company

If you had wondered whether Grubhub and Seamless are part of the same company, then you were justified in thinking so. Both are part of Grubhub Inc., a public company based in Chicago that has more than 14 million active diners and approximately 80,000 restaurant partners in over 1,600 cities across the United States and the United Kingdom.

So if both are controlled by Grubhub, then why the two separate brand names? The reason is one of history. Seamless was founded in 1999 in New York City by two lawyers. It was originally a food delivery business that offered an easier way for companies to order food from restaurants and caterers. The company later launched a consumer-facing online ordering service, leading to even greater success and expansion.

In 2013, Grubhub announced that the two companies would be merging. With this, Grubhub became a considerably larger company (Grubhub had locations in a fair number of cities around the U.S., but its presence was nothing compared to the scale of Seamless’s operations).

At the time of the merger, Seamless had a much larger food delivery market share and was better known. For this reason, Grubhub has maintained the Seamless brand name, website, and service as separate from Grubhub. This makes sense from a marketing perspective: Why mess with a brand that consumers already recognize and trust?

This merger does lead to some questions for users and prospective drivers, however. Is there any difference between what the two services offer in terms of price, availability, and restaurant options?

The Differences Between Seamless and Grubhub

To clear up any confusion about Grubhub vs Seamless, this section will compare the two services based on the following criteria:

  1. Mobile App
  2. Price
  3. Availability
  4. Restaurant Options
  5. Delivery Driver Experience

After reading this section, you’ll have a complete understanding of where Seamless ends, where Grubhub begins, and how to two services overlap.

1. Mobile App

Are there any differences between the Seamless and Grubhub apps? They do continue to exist as separate mobile applications, but there are no differences from an ordering experience or design perspective. You can see this when you compare screenshots of the two apps taken from the iOS app store.

Here’s what the Seamless app looks like:

Seamless vs Grubhub: What's the Difference? - Seamless app

For comparison, here are some screenshots of Grubhub:

Seamless vs Grubhub: What's the Difference? - Grubhub app

The way the screenshots are presented is a bit different, but the apps are virtually identical.

2. Price

What about price? Is one app cheaper to use than the other? Once again, there is no difference here. To get delivery with Seamless and Grubhub, you’ll only pay the fee set by the restaurant from which you order. This fee varies based on the restaurant in question, but it’s usually just a few dollars (and rarely more than $10).

You’d pay this fee even if you ordered directly through the restaurant (by calling them on the phone, for example). This makes both Grubhub and Seamless some of the cheaper food delivery apps to use.

3. Availability

Are there some cities where Seamless is available and Grubhub isn’t (or vice versa)? Once again, the answer is no. Grubhub originally had a much smaller reach than Seamless, but after the two companies merged, they also expanded their operations to each other’s markets. So whether you’re in London or Los Angeles, you can get delivery with either service.

4. Restaurant Options

Are there some restaurants that Seamless offers that Grubhub doesn’t? Not as far as we can tell. With the scale of both companies’ operations being so large, it’s impossible for us to review every city on each platform.

However, the fact that both companies are available in the same set of cities (and due to the way that working as a delivery driver for each company functions), it appears that you can order the same food from both companies.

One thing we will note is that on the Seamless FAQ page the company mentions, “We are still working to get some restaurants on the new site, and they should be available soon!”

This could mean that, for the moment, the selection on Grubhub is a bit larger. This is just a temporary situation, however, as Seamless updates their website.

5. Delivery Driver Experience

What about from the perspective of a delivery driver? Is there any difference between delivering for Grubhub and Seamless? No, there is not.

In fact, you can no longer be a driver exclusively for Seamless. If you click on the “Drive with Us” link at the bottom of the Seamless website, you’ll get redirected to the Grubhub driver application page. What this means, in effect, is that Grubhub drivers also make Seamless deliveries.

From the customer perspective, they may still be using Seamless, but Grubhub delivery persons are fulfilling all the same orders. Don’t worry: You don’t need to use a separate app to make Seamless deliveries. It all happens within the Grubhub driver app.

For more information on what it’s like to delivery for Grubhub (and on how to become a Grubhub driver), consult our Grubhub driver guide.

Grubhub vs Seamless in Summary

As you can now see, Grubhub and Seamless are both restaurant delivery companies that use the same business model and are effectively the same service. While they exist as separate food delivery platforms from a consumer perspective, the two apps are virtually identical and there’s no major advantage to using one over the other.

If you already have one app and enjoy using it, you’re not going to gain anything by switching. If you’ve never used either, then just feel free to take your pick based on whichever name you like better.

Looking for another food delivery app to try? Here are guides to some other popular food delivery services: