Grubhub announced Wednesday the launch of a new feature that allows restaurants that do their own delivery to expand their delivery zone by partnering with the third-party delivery company. The supplemental delivery service will let restaurants maintain independence by using their own delivery drivers within a specific radius while Grubhub drivers pick up the slack for orders placed on Grubhub for a designated delivery zone outside of that radius.
This feature has been unofficially available in beta tests since September, and more recently has been rolled out to Grubhub systemwide.
Here’s how it works: If a restaurant signed up with Grubhub’s supplemental delivery service has set its self-delivery radius as one mile and a customer located further away but within the newly expanded supplemental boundary places an order on Grubhub, the order is sent to a restaurant’s Grubhub tablet. It is then clearly marked for pickup and delivery by a Grubhub driver and delivered as normal, without extra steps needed by the restaurant operator.
“We created this product to help our restaurant partners reach more diners and to be more efficient, especially with the staffing shortages that are going on,” Grubhub senior vice president of restaurants, Kevin Kearns, said. “A lot of self-delivery restaurants will have relatively small delivery boundaries […] The restaurants that have signed up for this service have reached over twice as many diners as they were able to previously.”
Kearns said that since soft launching in September, Grubhub has been able to route 100,000 orders to its delivery drivers from restaurants that have signed up.
Although this might sound similar to other last-mile supplemental services offered by third-party delivery companies, Grubhub is differentiating itself by eliminating the need for restaurants to indicate on-demand that they need help from outside delivery services. Instead, the process is automated: orders placed within the self-delivery zone will be taken care of by the restaurant, while orders within the designated Grubhub radius will be taken care of by Grubhub drivers. The delivery company individually works with operators to set specific boundaries based on plausibility of delivering the food hot and fresh to customers.
“Restaurant owners have been struggling with finding and keeping drivers and this really helps,” Kearns said. “This helps them keep that part of their business going and keeps their delivery customers coming back. […] Almost every restaurant that has been eligible to try out this feature has adopted it.”
For pricing, operators can choose to pay 10% flat fees on every supplemental delivery order or pass that 10% onto the customer.
Third-party delivery companies have been recently adding a plethora of new features — like Grubhub’s supplemental delivery — seemingly to offer operators new options. Delivery companies have been criticized for their 20-30% commission fees and options like supplemental delivery, Grubhub’s commission-free direct ordering, or DoorDash’s tiered pricing delivery plans give operators cheaper ways to invest in third-party delivery.
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