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A look into the growing food delivery industry: Part 3, Grubhub

By Nakisha Rigley, KSL | Posted - Apr 18th, 2019 @ 10:00am


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We've now touched on food safety and driver requirements for Uber Eats and Doordash. In our final installment on food delivery services, we will examine Grubhub and how these types of services impact the economy.SALT LAKE CITY — The popularity of food delivery services continues to grow, with 86% of consumers reporting the use of off-premise services at least once a month according to Melissa Wilson, principal with Technomic, as reported in Restaurant Business Online.

Their popularity isn’t just with customers. Food delivery jobs are part of what has been called the new “gig economy,” another name for the flourishing market of flexible, fast-paying, independently contracted jobs, which now account for approximately 36% of the working population.

Grubhub

Grubhub has a portfolio of multiple brands that are nationally and internationally recognized: Seamless, LevelUp, Tapingo, Eat24, AllMenus, and Menupages, according to its site.

The site also notes that they process more than 416,000 orders a day.

Their longest standing brand Seamless started in 1999. Grubhub merged with Seamless in 2013. Now they are the same company, but separate entities with different reaches.

Research by Edison Trends reported in December 2018 that Grubhub is one of the largest and most popular food delivery services in the U.S., with 34 percent of the market share in the U.S.

What we know about its drivers: --------------------------------

All Grubhub drivers have to be 19 or older, pass a criminal background check, have a valid driver’s license and insurance, and have two or more years of driving experience, according to its website.

The drivers are required to complete an onboarding process to “set up your accounts, show you how to schedule blocks, and use our app,” also according to its site.

Grubhub did not respond to our request for more information about whether delivery vehicles must first be inspected or meet other requirements.

How they keep your food warm: -----------------------------

Grubhub requires all of its drivers to use an insulated delivery bag at all times, rather than leaving it up to the restaurant.

The USDA website explains that in order for hot food to stay safe, it needs to stay at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, and cold food must be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Food starts to become unsafe when left at room temperature for longer than two hours or one hour in air temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Using insulated delivery bags can help keep these foods at the correct temperature

What customers are saying: --------------------------

The BBB gives Grubhub two letter grades higher than Doordash and Uber Eats, with a C rating. They are the longest standing food delivery service on this list, with 14 years listed on the BBB site. They have fewer complaints than Doordash or Uber Eats within the last three years, with a total of 346, with just five unanswered and 169 falling under the category of “problems with a product or service" as of Monday.

How are these workers classified?

As of 2018, more than a third of the U.S. worked in the gig economy, and about 7 percent of all workers fell into the online platforms category, which includes delivery drivers.

There has been legal action taken against some food delivery companies in the past few years related to whether or not delivery drivers should be classified as contracted workers. The answer seems to be up for debate.

The IRS defines an independent contractor as someone who "has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done."

There are pros to being an independent contractor. Some include having a very flexible schedule, being your own boss, having some control over what you earn and having no state or federal taxes are taken out of your paycheck, according to the legal encyclopedia, Nolo.

Related:

However, being an independent contractor still means you have to pay self-employment income taxes that can be higher than employment taxes, according to Forbes.

Contractors also don't recieve labor law protections or benefits like health insurance, vacation pay, unemployment insurance and worker's compensation, as explained on Nolo.

While the gig economy provides a way to make ends meet and its convenience can't be denied, there are clearly some wrinkles to work out in the realm of unsupervised food delivery.

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