Our Take on the 2019 Food on Demand Conference
Last week, the Grubhub and LevelUp team attended the Food on Demand (FOD) Conference in Chicago along with other notable restaurant industry leaders. Here, we’re sharing our key takeaways from the conference, including highlights from panels with our CFO and president, Adam DeWitt, and head of enterprise restaurants, Seth Priebatsch.
Discipline in a Public Company
Grubhub president, Adam DeWitt, said that Grubhub’s main goal this year regarding geographic expansion is “about filling in the edges” of the country, as the “vast majority of Americans can order Grubhub right now.” He credited Grubhub’s growth to its status as a public company: when numbers and operations become publicly available, it creates a certain discipline that’s become unique to Grubhub.
Two Possible Paths: Do You Rent or Own your Customers?
Seth Priebatsch, Grubhub’s head of enterprise restaurants, spoke about the existing “dysfunctional” food delivery business model. Third-party delivery providers collect ample data on restaurant customers, which is immensely valuable to restaurant brands, but providers are typically unwilling to give up that data.
Grubhub offers restaurant brands this data if the brand partners exclusively with Grubhub for delivery. While restaurants can partner with several delivery providers to negotiate the best prices (Path A, which many currently follow), Seth commented that Path B “for us is partnering very, very deeply in a branded channel and open marketplace scenario and building that owned customer asset.”
What is a ghost kitchen, and why was it such a hot topic at FOD this year? Put simply, a ghost kitchen is a restaurant business that offers their food through delivery only. Typically, these businesses offer no in-store dining or even carryout options. Meredith Sandland, COO of Kitchen United, discussed the benefits brands can enjoy by building ghost kitchens: building kitchens quickly, controlling your brand while maximizing capital, and expanding your possible locations.
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