We Are a Marketplace That Sells Demand Generation, Says Grubhub CEO


“We are a marketplace that sells demand generation,” says Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney. “We sell growth. That’s what our primary product is. We’re not a logistics company. We do logistics because we know that’s an end to get to restaurant growth and make money off our logistics. The gross margins on the logistics are not fabulous. The gross margins on the demand generation are fabulous which is why I differentiate between a logistics company and demand gen company. If you’re selling consumers, you’re selling growth, and you can charge a lot for that.”

Matt Maloney, CEO of Grubhub, discusses with Jim Cramer on CNBC how Grubhub is in the business of driving growth for restaurants and is not just a logistics company:

The American Public Has Just Adopted Digital Ordering

This is our fifth anniversary of our IPO. The market now is ten times what I thought it was five years ago. It’s because the American public has just adopted digital ordering as their preferred way to engage with their local restaurants. We are not just marketing to Millennials. We are marketing on national television across all channels, all time zones, and hitting all segments. We just see that people realize that digitally ordering on their app or on their desktop is just easier.

Of course, our ad campaign is working. I wouldn’t have it on TV if it wasn’t working. You think about it this way. You know your LTV, your lifetime value of your customer, once they start ordering we know that they’re lifers. They’re on forever. We can make that revenue model and then we know how much it cost to put the ad on there. So yes, over time, as people see the ad, more and more it becomes less and less effective. But we’re nowhere near our LTV.

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Grubhub National TV Commercial

I have always been willing to be extremely aggressive investing in the future. Historically, I was bound by the amount of money I could invest. The reception of these communications just weren’t hitting the public and they weren’t working as well. Then around the third quarter of last year, we saw that we could spend way more than we had historically. I’m just talking about effectiveness. Spending it effectively. We came to the street on our third quarter earnings call and said we see opportunity and we are going long in the fourth quarter.

Yum Made $200 million Investment – They Believe in Our Story

People are going to say where’s the beef, the old Wendy’s commercial. They’re like show me the money. (We don’t have Wendy’s) but everyone talks to everyone in this industry. I think over time exclusivity is just not going to happen. (We have Yum) and Yum is the biggest restaurateur in the world. YUM is an incredible brand which includes Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut. They are very forward-thinking. They invest in technology a lot and they wanted to make a fundamental partnership and we wanted to understand what the brands needed from a partner.

Yum made a $200 million investment because they believe in our story. We didn’t need the investment because we have a very healthy balance sheet. What it did it was really bringing the support of the young brand and the franchisees into Grub. As a tight partnership, we’re able to execute on technology and growth for them in a way that nobody else in the industry is doing right now. I totally disagree (that we aren’t making money from this partnership).

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We Are a Marketplace That Sells Demand Generation

We are a marketplace that sells demand generation. We sell growth. That’s what our primary product is. We’re not a logistics company. We do logistics because we know that’s an end to get to restaurant growth and make money off our logistics. The gross margins on the logistics are not fabulous. The gross margins on the demand generation are fabulous which is why I differentiate between a logistics company and demand gen company.

If you’re selling consumers, you’re selling growth and you can charge a lot for that. That’s the profitable side. Everyone else in my industry is a logistics company which has razor thin margins. One of my competitors said they’re the next FedEx. Do you really want to be the next FedEx? There’s the multiple that we can get as marketplaces and there’s the multiple that logistics companies can get.

Everyone Would Prefer to Order Digitally

I think that everyone in the country would prefer to order digitally than order on the phone. That’s why we acquired Tapingo. It’s an incredible acquisition because it gives us further scale on campuses. Tapingo is a pickup focused product. So here’s what you need to think about. We sell growth, we sell orders. I don’t care if that’s a pickup order, a delivery order, a self-delivery order, or a catering order.

Everyone else in my industry only does delivery facilitated by that platform. Because we partner with the restaurants (which means) the restaurants are subsidizing part of our transaction fee, we are always cheaper. That’s what people don’t understand. There’s a lot of bait and switch pricing going on (from competitors).

We Are a Marketplace That Sells Demand Generation, Says Grubhub CEO



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