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Olo integrates Grubhub into digital-delivery services

On-demand commerce platform adds third-party marketplace to lineup


Olo Inc., the on-demand commerce platform for multi-location restaurants, will be integrating Grubhub, the third-party delivery marketplace, into digital orders through restaurant point-of-sale systems, the companies announced Tuesday.

New York-based Olo said its Olo Rails module, which helps restaurants publish their menu, price and location information and then manage those through participating third-party marketplaces. Orders through Grubhub can now directly stream through the restaurant brands’ POS systems.

Noah Glass, Olo CEO and founder, said in an interview that the Grubhub integration provides more options for restaurant brands.

“Having Grubhub on board,” he said, “we now have Caviar, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, Seamless, Uber all of the major national delivery aggregators and the regional and local aggregators that matter in specific geographies for our operators.” 

“That really fulfills the commitment that we made to our restaurant customers in launching Olo Rails,” he said. “We want to give them a single place to manage all of their on-demand commerce traffic, whether it's their direct channel or their indirect channels, and they can now do that through Olo Rails with this new partnership.”

The Olo Rails-Grubhub integration was piloted with Smoothie King, Glass said, and the brand has seen more accurate menu information and a reduction in order errors.

Olo went public in mid-March. For its second quarter ended June 30, Olo reported a net loss of $2.4 million, or 2 cents a share. Revenues increased 48% to $35.9 million, up from $24.3 million in the prior-year period.

“As the U.S. economy and restaurant dining rooms began to reopen in Q2,” Glass said on Olo’s second-quarter earnings call with analysts, “restaurant digital sales proved durable, demonstrating that the restaurant industry's digital transformation is not just about delivery, but all ordering modes and across all service models: delivery, drive-thru, table service, and takeout.”

He noted that data from The NPD Group indicated more non-delivery digital orders than delivery digital orders this year.

During the quarter, Chicago-based Potbelly Sandwich Works joined the Olo platform, joining such companies as Papa Murphy's, Chili's Grill & Bar, Maggiano's Little Italy, Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and others.

“Our launch with Potbelly furthers Olo's conviction that open SaaS [software as a service] wins over homegrown and closed proprietary software,” Glass said.

Olo also expanded its reach into virtual brands, providing the platform for Dallas-based Wingstop's launch of its virtual Thighstop brand, which Glass said was “a creative and successful solution” for the chicken-wing shortage.

“The launch of Thighstop demonstrates the flexibility that the Olo platform provides to its customers, allowing restaurant brands to operate more nimbly, in this case, helping to solve business challenges and bringing Wingstop closer to realizing its long-term strategy,” he said.

Olo said it also helped restaurant brands address the tight driver availability for delivery services.

“Olo Dispatch, our delivery-as-a-service solution, provides a nationwide network of more than two dozen delivery service providers, or DSPs, covering 97% of our customers' U.S. store locations,” Glass said. San Diego, Calif.-based Jack in the Box Inc. in the quarter deployed Dispatch to enhance its existing digital-ordering-for-takeout program.

Glass said the outlook for the year ahead is uncertain, given concerns about the COVID-19 delta variant and breakthrough cases among vaccinated people.

“It's a dangerous thing to be in the predictions game in terms of what's happening with COVID,” he said. “What I know to be true is that by digitizing every transaction by enabling brands to operate in a nimble way to enable on-demand ordering for takeout and delivery and drive thru and on-premises, we can help restaurant brands to navigate through the challenges that are being thrown at them.”

Glass said Olo was dedicated to helping restaurants meet any increases in customers and “have all the tools at their disposal to meet that demand.”

Olo provides platforms for more than 400 restaurant brands.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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