Yesterday, fast-casual chain Just Salad announced it had selected Grubhub as its exclusive partner for third-party delivery. While the news is great for chopped salad enthusiasts, it’s more importantly a look at what Grubhub is planning in terms future technologies and, with that, future growth.
Part of that involves LevelUp, which Grubhub acquired for $390 million in cash in 2018. LevelUp makes restaurant-branded apps that facilitate order and payment for delivery and pickup, as well as loyalty programs. The LevelUp system can plug directly into existing point of sale (POS) systems to give restaurants a more streamlined view of their overall business, as well as easier ways to manage front and back of house. As of right now, LevelUp’s clients include Potbelly, Sweetgreen, Pret, and many others. Combined with Grubhub’s own capabilities around delivery, it’s a forceful offering in an off-premises-focused food world.
Just Salad, who operates just over 30 locations across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, is one of the first restaurants to take advantage of the full Grubhub-LevelUp tech stack, according to the press release. The combined offering will give restaurants like Just Salad the chance to streamline their orders, whether they’re from mobile or in-house, so they all go directly to the kitchen. This helps with managing the workload for employees in the kitchen, better order accuracy, and no tablet hell. Additionally, restaurants using the Grubhub-LevelUp combo can consolidate data from different orders into a single dashboard, which provides better analytics around what is (or isn’t) working.
“By building out the most robust partnership possible, we’re able to hyper-personalize guest experiences, increase Just Salad’s understanding of guest behavior, and most importantly, deliver more healthy options to more hungry people,” Seth Priebatsch, head of enterprise restaurants at Grubhub, said in the press release.
There’s a lot of action in the third-party delivery space right now, and Grubhub competitors are certainly not sitting still. Postmates filed confidentially for its IPO in February and this week expanded to 1,000 more cities. Uber recently released its S-1 financial documents ahead of its own IPO, and Uber Eats was a big part of the success story in those documents. DoorDash, meanwhile, is no longer the underdog it used to be, with a $7.1 billion valuation and questions ablaze about its own IPO.
In fact, DoorDash recently knocked Grubhub off the top spot for food delivery services in terms of consumer spending and market share. No doubt Grubhub, who went public five years ago, is trying to win some of that share back by highlighting tech capabilities like those it has with LevelUp’s software. At this point, though, Grubhub may need to find a bigger differentiator to keep up with the competition.