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Already merged Seamless and Grubhub delivery platforms have now joined forces with Amazon in what is becoming a towering home delivery monolith, putting profits from that impulsive late-night pizza order into Jeff Bezos’s pocket.
The partnership between the internet behemoth and Just Eat Takeaway — the Dutch parent company which acquired Grubhub in 2020 for $7.3 billion — was announced Wednesday, and will allow Amazon a two percent stake in Grubhub, with the option to increase its holdings to as much as 15 percent. Additionally, Amazon Prime’s 200 million members will be offered a free year-long premium membership on the platform. According to Crain’s New York, Amazon’s stake will depend on how well the partnership works and how many customers the ubiquitous retailer attracts.
“I am incredibly excited to announce this collaboration with Amazon that will help Grubhub continue to deliver on our long-standing mission to connect more diners with local restaurants. Amazon has redefined convenience with Prime and we’re confident this offering will expose many new diners to the value of Grubhub+ while driving more business to our restaurant partners and drivers,” said Adam DeWitt, CEO of Grubhub in a press release.
Looking to lure customers back after many diners returned to dining in-person, the partnership could be a life raft for the struggling Just Eat, whose stock shares dipped 67 percent last year before announcing their intent to potentially sell Grubhub off. Following the announcement, the Dutch company’s shares jumped 20 percent on Wednesday, in their steepest climb in nearly four years. Despite an initially strong run, Grubhub has suffered at the hands of both expanded offerings from rival delivery services DoorDash and UberEats as well as local government caps limiting the commissions they can charge partner restaurants (meant to protect small businesses recovering from the pandemic) have stunted the platforms’s growth to third place in the delivery wars.
Reaction from Hell’s Kitchen eatery owners to the news was mixed. William Welles from Chez Napoleon was not in favor of the new partnership, saying: “Welcome to to the dystopian conglomerate corporate monopoly rule like we saw in the sci-fi movies of the 1980s that warned us about this…Food controlled by one corporation? Will it be delivered by Robocop? Is there Soylent Green on the menu?”
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Meanwhile, Ray Park from Red Poke weighed up the personal and business pros and cons. “As a longtime Amazon Prime member, I will definitely take an advantage of it when I order delivery, which I can save a few dollars on every single delivery. As a restaurant owner, we expect more delivery volumes on Seamless/Grubhub and hope it leads more new customers to restaurants. I don’t want it to be a monopoly game and Amazon raise commissions once they take a majority of market shares,” he told us.
It’s not Grubhub/Just Eat’s first stunt attempt to kick up sales. In May, the New York City wing of Grubhub haphazardly offered all 8 million residents a free lunch — resulting in a predictable pileup of lost, canceled orders and overwhelmed restaurants, few of whom were warned of the impending chaos.
So if you’re looking to support small businesses directly and bypass the Bezos, consider calling directly for delivery, downloading your favorite place’s own app or strolling over to your nearest go-to for pickup. It will be faster than the lost souls who are still waiting for their free Grubhub lunch.