GrubHub and Wheaton Delivery

Interesting Sunday WaPo article on GrubHub, an online restaurant delivery facilitator. Seems like a great idea, one stop shopping that allows a user to find local restaurants who deliver, check out the menus and order the food directly via GrubHub. But how does GH make a profit?* The article says “the service is free for users who pay for the meals with cash, credit, or PayPal.”  But it is only free if by “free” they mean “obscenely high delivery charges”: in most cases, Wheaton-area restaurants listed on GH charge $5.99 plus 9% of total bill for delivery, not including a tip for the driver.  Am I wrong that that seems like an enormous fee?  For $30 of food you would pay nearly $9 in delivery charges, plus tip. The only places that have a lower charge (again, just in the Wheaton core area) are pizza chains, Armand’s ($1) and Manny & Olga’s (free).  Pretty sure the charges are set by, and proceeds go to, some combination of GrubHub and the delivery service, not the restaurants, but I hope someone will correct me if that’s wrong.

Content is still expanding, but already includes an interesting mix of Wheaton restaurants: Matamoros, Wong Gee, The Chicken Place, Irene’s Pupusas, Woomi Garden, Kenny’s, a few others.  Silver Spring’s Ghar-E-Kebab is not listed, though I know they deliver to Wheaton (the evidence of such delivery was delicious and no longer exists). Mrs. Me noticed that Taverna Kefi is listed — Kefi was the short-lived Greek restaurant where Nava Thai now lives. If you click through to Kefi’s menu, it is in fact the Nava menu, but the old Kefi phone number (Nava’s number is totally different including area code) — clearly GrubHub still has some bugs to work out.  Despite that, I like the concept, and if they can find a way to reduce the delivery charge (like by half), I would probably use GH with some regularity.

*Not clear whether they are yet profitable; they are forecasting $17 million in 2011 revenues.

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