Getting food delivered is easier and faster than ever these days, and it’s not even necessary to utter a word. Phone orders long dominated delivery, but the cultural preference has switched to ordering online, with internet orders on pace to outnumber phone orders soon.
Quartz reports that in the year ended May 2010, about 1.39 billion phone delivery orders were placed in the US, but by May 2015 that number decreased to only about 1.02 billion. In the same five years, online orders went from 403 million to almost 904 million.
GrubHub was one of the earliest in the game -- they began offering online ordering in 2004 -- and has maintained pace with the market. Seamless launched online ordering in 2005 and merged with GrubHub in 2013, and now boasts more than 30,000 restaurants. This isn’t to say that GrubHub has nothing to be worried about. Consumers want increasingly upscale dining options and new businesses are capitalizing on it.
Startups such as Caviar, UberEATS, Postmates and DoorDash provide delivery services for restaurants that don’t offer their own. In 2014, those four companies handled orders totalling $400 million, and that number is expected to leap to $1.6 billion by 2016. GrubHub is still ahead in terms of volume of orders, but they are definitely not on the cutting edge anymore.
Consumers can still find the likes of Taco Bell and Chipotle through some delivery services, but that may be beside the point. Caviar, one of the newer services, only has 189 restaurants in Manhattan compared to Seamless’ nearly 3,800, but it offers the fancy restaurants that people want. And the people are willing to pay for it too: Online ordering can tack on an extra 40 percent of what you would have paid if you went to the restaurant.