GrubHub’s Chia: Scale and ‘Strong Partnership Model’ Keep Company Afloat in Saturated Market

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Competition in the local delivery space has exploded in the past few years as on-demand providers rushed to connect service providers with consumers as efficiently as possible. But food ordering and delivery platform GrubHub is betting that the scale it has amassed over 11 years will keep it competitive even as newer competitors grow up (and some flame out).

Street Fight recently caught up with GrubHub’s SVP of Operations, Stan Chia, who spearheads the company’s delivery efforts. According to Chia, the company’s fundamental mission — restaurant discovery — remains its priority.

How has GrubHub evolved as the online ordering space matured in the past few years?
One of the great things about being a veteran is that we have the national scale that allows us to do things in a way that other, sub-scale companies aren’t able to. That was one of our reasons for venturing into the food delivery space with our own delivery service. With the restaurant network that we have, with the scale that we have — when you think about six and a half million active diners ordering at a rate of 220,000 orders a day — you’re able to logistically create a delivery service that can operate efficiently right out of the gate. That scale is what powers delivery.

We’ve pioneered things like rapid pickup, where we’re pushing new products that leverage the power of our marketplace to bring an innovative experience to our diners and restaurants. We’re continually focused on efforts that use our veteran status.

How did the merger with Seamless help with market consolidation?
It was just a great marrying of two brands that were super focused on diners and restaurants, and the combination and synergies that have come out of that merger have really yielded in positivity for both diners and restaurants.

Are there any ambitions to add other services to the GrubHub platform?
There’s always an appetite to look for what’s available in the marketplace. Everything has to pertain to food for us, though. We’re really food-focused, so when it comes to any type of expansion or adjacent opportunities, as long as it’s tied to food I’d say it’s safe to assume that we’ll evaluate it. But we won’t venture into things that are not food-related.

Do you consider GrubHub to be primarily a facilitator of delivery, or a food and restaurant discovery service?
We’re the nation’s leading platform for connecting restaurants and diners. That’s been our mission since day one and it’s what we continue to strive to do in a better way. We want to be that aggregated marketplace that allows us to connect restaurants and diners — we added the delivery element.

How can GrubHub maintain its position as a household name when it comes to online ordering, as the market grows, new names continue to pop up, and other companies in the space mature over time?
We pride ourselves on our belief of a strong partnership model. Everybody we list on the platform is somebody that is fully partnering with us. We’re in it with them ’til the end, even in terms of how payments happen — we only get paid on orders that we deliver to restaurants. When you think about that as the anchor for how we operate our business, we believe that’s a huge competitive advantage for us. We’re going to innovate on behalf of our restaurant partners and drive things that are valuable to them with our technology.

Annie Melton is Street Fight’s news editor.