Matt Maloney and Mike Evans started as coworkers working for apartments.com. This service is an advertising space for apartment owners, property managers or companies, landlords and other classified listings. They would often work through meal times and got into somewhat of a habit of grabbing delivery meals. Many people find that delivery is quicker and more time efficient than cooking a homemade meal. Regardless, you still have to waste time calling the restaurant, placing your order, providing all of your contact information, giving your address, and your credit card information. Matt and Mike got sick of this and eating from the same delivery places time and time again. They got to thinking about why there isn’t an ‘apartments.com’ for food delivery? This thought invoked the launch of GrubHub.
GrubHub is an online food ordering system that started off in Chicago. It connects hungry people who want delivery services without the hassle of talking to people. It was created in 2004 and has been thriving ever since. The men created this service to quickly access all sorts of delivery options. They did not want the same greasy pizza or heavy Chinese food every week so they invited real restaurants to join them. Evans actually quit his job as a senior developer to work on the development of GrubHub full time. The two men financed the project themselves and took on a lot of the early responsibilities. The early stages of the blooming company were rough; the men were needed to hire people. With a limited financial budget, this was difficult. They turned to Craigslist to put out feelers, but they didn’t always find who they needed. Through hard work, determination, and confidence, the men did what they had to do to get their company off the ground.
Maloney and Evans ran all over Chicago gathering menus to put into their database. Mike wrote some code to start their website and app which further propelled the two along in their adventure. The new business owners initially charged the restaurants for six months of placement on their website. Many owners had a difficult time seeing the value of this. They had already paid for their own website and didn’t understand why they should pay to be on yet another. To counter this, Evans and Maloney came up with another option; they would take 10% of commission on whatever they ended up selling for restaurants. The restaurant owners really took to this idea.
After thriving in Chicago, GrubHub decided to expand. The men took the opportunity to hit San Francisco and do some guerilla marketing. Maloney even says that they bought a ‘Sales for Dummies’ book and went door-to-door talking to different restaurants. People were extremely receptive there. Orders started flowing in and their service truly hit the ground running. Their marketing team figured that people coming home from work, on buses and subways, are hungry. Because of this move, investors started to notice the company’s success. This was great, but it was also hard to expand; it was easier and more beneficial to know the city they were covering. They didn’t know San Francisco the way that they knew Chicago. For this reason, they ended up hiring a SF manager to build their networks. Now, GrubHub is used in over 700 cities and 30,000 restaurants. There are over 175,000 Grubhub orders placed per day!