Grubhub Feeds Takeouts to Local Restaurants

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A regular customer of Christian Rinehart’s restaurants suffered an illness last year that left him unable to dine out on his own.

“I used to drop food off to him,” says Rinehart, owner of O’Donold’s Irish Pub, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts and Mission Taco.

“Now he’s ordering $100 [of food from Grubhub] a week.”

Grubhub is a food-ordering app that enables restaurants to offer menu items for delivery. “It’s good for older clientele and people who aren’t mobile,” Rinehart says.

The company introduced its service three years ago in 50 cities across the United States. Today it offers delivery to more than 1,600 cities in the United States and London. The service arrived in the Mahoning Valley in April.

Josh Toot, vice president of commercial banking at Home Savings Bank, is one of its new customers. So are some of his friends who “use it religiously,” he says, to order from 20-plus area restaurants.

“We are looking at different places to order from,” Toot says.

“We went to Grubhub because it pulls everything into it instead of looking at one site at a time. It gives you more options, since they have contracts to work with a lot of places.”

To order a meal, go to Grubhub.com or its mobile app, enter your ZIP code and click on one of the restaurants listed. Then select from the menu and set the time you want the order to arrive.

Rinehart says he was the first to use Grubhub in the Youngstown area. The app sends orders to all his restaurants. In addition to Suzie’s, O’Donold’s Irish Pub and Mission Taco, he’s opening a fourth restaurant, Rhine Haus Bier Hall, next month in downtown Youngstown.

“I would recommend it to other restaurants, but you have to dedicate at least a week to make the switch,” he says. “It takes energy and time.”

Through the app, Rinehart says he makes between $500 and $1,000 in sales a week for each restaurant. On a busy day, he’ll see 15 to 20 deliveries, with seven or so on slower days.

Grubhub makes a profit by keeping a percentage of the total bill.

If you order directly through the app, Grubhub makes 30% of the total, according to Rinehart.

Or, he says, “If you want to support local business, go to the restaurant’s webpage and hit the [delivery] link from there.” This lowers Grubhub’s take.

“They call that a nonmarketing link, meaning Grubhub didn’t help market the order so they only charge 10% to 15%,” he says.

Despite a few miscommunications between the time it takes to prepare the order and deliver it, which Rinehart says is getting worked out, he’s happy with the partnership.

“It gives you a new marketing base of people going to Grubhub who may have never been to your restaurant,” Rinehart says. “We were going to start our own delivery services if Grubhub wasn’t an option, but this saves us a ton of money on labor and execution.”

Before Coaches Burger Bar in Boardman partnered with Grubhub this spring, it would deliver its own food, but only had the manpower to do so during lunchtime.

“We didn’t have enough delivery requests to warrant delivery drivers for evening time,” says Frank Gruber, general manager. “Grubhub provided us with drivers and a way for customers to get delivery at home all day long.”

Since partnering with the service, Coaches Burger Bar fills as many as 100 delivery orders on a busy week and 30 orders during a slow week.

“We have customers who either don’t have time or are unable to dine in purchase meals through us and get delivery at home,” Gruber says. “This was a whole section of the market we weren’t able to cater to.”

Pictured: Christian Rinehart, owner of O’Donold’s Irish Pub, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, Mission Taco and Rhine Haus Bier Hall.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.