Operations

Grubhub makes a bold move into grocery delivery

Retail Watch: The third-party delivery platform is joining forces with Albertsons, adding more than 1,800 supermarkets to its offerings.
Grubhub plate
Grubhub is partnering with Albertsons to greatly expand its grocery delivery. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Retail Watch

It was just a couple of months ago that Grubhub said it was tiptoeing into grocery delivery, partnering with an online marketplace for independent grocers.

Today, the delivery platform that was once solely for restaurants is diving headfirst into the supermarket segment, announcing a deal with nearly 1,800 Albertsons stores under banners including Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, ACME and more.

Albertsons is currently awaiting federal approval of a proposed $24.6 billion acquisition by Kroger, in what would be the largest supermarket merger in history. It’s a marriage that the Federal Trade Commission in February sued to block, and one that would have wide-ranging repercussions for grocers, consumers, supermarket employees, suppliers and more.

It’s too early to tell whether such a merger would lead to further expansion of Grubhub’s grocery offering.

But it’s easy to see why Grubhub is keen to stake its claim in this segment. For cash-strapped consumers, groceries remain a heckuva lot cheaper than restaurants, even with delivery.

“Through this exciting partnership, we’re giving consumers more choices while maximizing value so that they find exactly what they need on Grubhub delivered right to their door,” Craig Whitmer, VP of new verticals at Chicago-based Grubhub, said in a statement.

I’d be curious to see how Grubhub's restaurant delivery numbers are faring, given the inflationary pressures that are prompting many diners to cut back. But the company, whose parent is Amsterdam-based delivery provider Just Eat Takeaway, left Nasdaq a couple of years ago.

In any case, Grubhub may be feeling the pressure to catch up in the non-restaurant delivery game.

DoorDash launched its grocery delivery channel in 2020 and now boasts more than 150,000 non-restaurant retailers on its platform.

If only grocers could streamline their delivery offerings of prepared foods, they could really give restaurants some competition. As it stands today, most supermarkets do a terrible job of making deli products, hot foods, sushi and similar prepared meals available for delivery.

Grocers’ in-house apps tend to be clunky, with the bulk of prepared items not even listed for sale.

Might some prodding from a platform that was founded on restaurant delivery give supermarkets the push they need to deliver prepared meals? I’ll believe that when my favorite grocery store poke bowl arrives on my doorstep.

ICYMI

Sister publication CSP Daily News recently released its 2024 Top 202 list of the country’s largest convenience-store chains. (For faithful RB readers, it’s like Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, but for c-stores.)

What do all of the largest chains have in common? Robust foodservice programs, many with signature items that drive traffic.

Check out the full Top 202 list and related articles here.

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