Delivery surge continues for Grubhub

Despite the easing of dining restrictions, a lot of consumers continued to order delivery in the third quarter.
GrubHub Q3
Photograph: Shutterstock

Greater availability of indoor and outdoor dining this summer did little to stop consumers from ordering delivery, as Grubhub saw key ordering trends continue to accelerate in the third quarter, historically a slower time for the company.

Daily average orders increased 46% year over year, to 668,000, during the three-month period ending Sept. 30, according to earnings released Wednesday. That’s compared to a 32% increase in the second quarter. Gross food sales rose 68% year over year, to $2.4 billion, improving on a 59% increase in the second quarter. Revenues rose 53%, to $494 million. 

However, Grubhub still lost money, posting a net loss of $9.2 million as expenses rose, most notably for operations and support demanded by the skyrocketing order volume.  

The company also invested in diner acquisition, adding 2.5 million diners in the quarter to bring its total to 30 million, a 41% year-over-year increase. It has also spent hundreds of millions to support restaurants during the pandemic, the company said.

Its network of restaurant partners stands at 245,000, growing by 20,000 since late July. Four independents were brought aboard for every one location of a large QSR chain, the company said. 

Grubhub has been at the center of a number of disputes lately, including a lawsuit filed this week alleging it illegally added restaurants to its platform without their permission. Despite those troubles, the company appears to be rolling right along as it heads into a proposed acquisition by Amsterdam-based delivery giant Just Eat Takeaway. The $7.3 billion deal has cleared all the necessary regulatory hurdles, and should close in the first half of next year, Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney said in a letter to shareholders Wednesday.

There have been questions about the sustainability of delivery as dining rooms reopen and consumers’ stimulus checks run out. Grubhub’s third quarter suggests the service has staying power with diners, though there are signs restaurants are losing faith in it. Chipotle Mexican Grill and Noodles & Co. blamed delivery for weaker margins in the third quarter, and Chipotle said it would raise delivery prices in an effort to get customers to order other ways.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Restaurants bring the industry's concerns to Congress

Neary 600 operators made their case to lawmakers as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference.


Podcast transcript: Virtual Dining Brands co-founder Robbie Earl

A Deeper Dive: What is the future of digital-only concepts? Earl discusses their work to ensure quality and why focusing on restaurant delivery works.


In the fast-casual sector, Chipotle laps Panera Bread

The Bottom Line: The two fast-casual restaurant pioneers have diverged over the past five years, as the burrito chain has thrived while Panera hit a wall. Here's why.


More from our partners