Restaurants and Bars

DoorDash vs. Grubhub – The Complete Comparison

by Ben Dwyer

DoorDash and Grubhub are two of the most popular food delivery apps in the United States. How do they compare?

When considering which app is right for your restaurant, take a look at not just cost, but also features and diner satisfaction. We’ll cover all of that and more in this DoorDash vs. Grubhub comparison. But first, let’s take a quick look at the history of food delivery and the two companies’ current statuses.

There’s No Business Like Food Business

Food delivery used to be a mom-and-pop affair. Not anymore; it’s now big business. According to BusinessWire, the online food delivery market in the U.S. was worth $17.5 billion in 2018 and is expected to undergo a CAGR of 11% during 2019-2024 to hit $32.7 billion. With a pie that big, competition is intense, with lots of companies at the table. Today, we take a look at two of the largest, DoorDash and Grubhub.

Together, DoorDash and Grubhub account for around two-thirds of the market; the two food logistic companies are in a neck and neck race to be market leader. In June 2019, DoorDash fed 34% of diners who ordered food online, while Grubhub came a close second by catering to 33%. Although nationally, the two appear to compete at close range, their main areas of operation are actually in different parts of the country. For example, in many Northeastern metro areas, including New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, Grubhub is the maître d’. But in cities as far flung as Atlanta, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington DC, and in the state of Texas, DoorDash feeds the masses.

Grubhub has grown at lot organically but, perhaps, much more by acquisition. In 2013, the service joined forces with competitor, Seamless, just one in a series of mergers and acquisitions that includes AllMenus, Delivered Dish, DiningIn, Eat24, LAbite, LevelUp, MenuPages, OrderUp, Restaurants on the Run, and Tapingo. The company claims that it “processes 521,000 daily orders” and “serves 19.3 million active diners” and has “provided more than $5 billion in gross food sales to local takeout restaurants in 2018”

To help you decide which one is better for your restaurant, we’ve rated these two food delivery services using four (4) measures: (i) Availability; (ii) Ease of Use; (iv) Cost; and (v) Customer service.

Naturally, availability is crucial; a service can’t be used if it’s not offered where your restaurant is. Also, a merchant app should be easy to use. There’s enough stress in a restaurateur’s life without dealing with a misbehaving app. Ease of use for diners is equally important. The consumer app is, after all, the virtual portal to your restaurant. If the door is hard to open, not many orders will get through.

It’s also worth looking at DoorDash and Grubhub’s ratings in app stores. Finally, how diners are rating the overall experience matters a great deal. Even though the logistics are being handled well, if the food delivery personnel are rude, it’s the company that will bear the brunt of the blame.

DoorDash vs Grubhub – At a Glance

Just want a quick comparison? We’ve got you covered.

Grubhub vs DoorDash chart

With the quick comparison, it looks like even-steven. But we’ll leave the deciding vote to you. Factors like costs and availability in your area can drastically affect whether one or the other is a better fit for your restaurant.


When it comes to availability, neither app has complete market penetration. However, both service quite a few areas of the country.


As might be expected from a company with a monthly gross bookings rate of $625 million, DoorDash delivery is ubiquitous. The company claims its service “is currently available in over 850 cities across North America”. Its website highlights 72 cities but many others show up on the search bar Find Restaurants just above the list.

Source: DoorDash.


However, with availability extending to “2,200 U.S. cities and London”, almost double the 850 cities touted by DoorDash, Grubhub wins the pot. Moreover, Grubhub has a larger merchant base: over 85,000 restaurants have signed up, according to Ridester. As a result, Grubhub is now in a position where it “has 17.7 million active users who are placing 467,600 daily food delivery orders.”

Ease of Use for Restaurant

Another important consideration is the ease of use. The last thing you want on a busy Saturday night is staff fumbling with a complicated, fussy app.

DoorDash Features

The gateway to the range of DoorDash tools and services for DoorDash Merchant Partners is the Merchant Portal. With the Merchant Portal, you can activate (and deactivate) your store; add or edit bank account information and business hours, view sales history, manage deliveries, add and remove menus and menu items, and much more. The Merchant Portal is also used for accepting and tracking orders.

For more on DoorDash features, see Should You Use DoorDash for Your Restaurant?

Here’s a walk though of the DoorDash Merchant App.

DoorDash Merchant App

The DoorDash Merchant App allows restaurant owners to receive and manage orders; to manage menus and to get help from DoorDash on any problems that may arise.

The first screen you see on signing in is the orders page.   Your orders for immediate processing will appear in the “New Orders” section marked in green. Orders scheduled in advance will be marked in blue. The screen will show the customer’s name, number of items, and the expected pick up time.

New orders are announced by a sound notification. New orders that have not been confirmed will appear at the top in the “New Orders” section. The “In Progress” section shows new orders that you have confirmed with the customer but haven’t been picked up a Dasher; while orders picked up by a Dasher appear in the “Completed Today” section.

When you receive an order, click “New Orders.” Under the customer’s name, you’ll see the names and quantity of items. Each item will also have the options for customization selected by the customer, special instructions or dietary restrictions, and total price of the order.

To contact the customer, click the menu at the top right. A window will open, displaying the customer’s telephone number.

Each item on the order has a setting icon to the right. Clicking the settings icon opens a small window that offers three options: (i) “Mark Item As Out Of Stock”; “Adjust Order”; or “Add An Additional Charge.”

Choosing out-of-stock gives further options, such as “until end of day” or “until end of day tomorrow.” A notification to the customer will allow them to request you to “Replace this item.”  If so, then three scenarios present themselves. The replaced item may (i) cost the same as the unavailable item; (ii) cost less; or (iii) cost more.

To replace an item, you click “Adjust Order”, which presents a screen with two buttons, “Refund” and “Replace.”

For a replaced item that costs the same, you simply select an item and click the “Confirm Replacement” button, which appears at the bottom of the item screen.

If the replaced item costs less or there is no replacement, the customer must be refunded. Clicking “Refund” opens another window and allows you to reimburse the customer.

If the replaced item costs more, you can adjust price by clicking “Add An Additional Charge.”

After reviewing the order, you notify the customer and DoorDash by clicking “Conform Order.” At that point, a popup window allows you to enter the delivery time. The order then moves from the “new Orders” section to the “In Progress” section.

In addition to the above, the Merchant App also facilitates a host of other menu management options. For example, an item may appear in several dishes. If it is unavailable, one click can adjust all those dishes.

Grubhub Features

As a restaurant owner, you will have access to Grubhub’s online and mobile food delivery platform, GrubCentral, from which you can manage your menu, review your operations and financials, and process orders. The company has published a video on managing orders, which you can see here: The Complete Guide to Grubhub for Restaurants. Here’s a walkthrough of the process.

Grubhub for Restaurants: How to Manage Orders

The order screen appears as to the right.  It has three sections; (i) Active; (ii) Completed; and (iii) Scheduled. The number of new immediate orders will be shown in the “Active” icon, while the “Scheduled” icon shows orders placed in advance.

Within the “Active” section, you can see the details of an order by clicking on the order. The bottom of the screen will show “Special Order Instructions.”  There are also options to “Adjust”, “Cancel” and “Print’ the order.

Even further down on the same screen, you can enter the “Delivery Time” and hit “Confirm.”

Grubhub will send a text message to the customer acknowledging the order and letting them know their food is being prepared. Confirmed orders are moved to the “Confirmed” section of the “Active” screen. After confirming the order, select “Close” and you will be returned to the “Active” screen, where you can click the “Ready for Driver’ button.

Just above the “Ready for Driver’ button is an icon, clicking which allows you to check the progress of your Grubhub driver on a map.

Clicking “Ready for Driver” moves the order to the “Completed” section and you’re ready to process the next new order.

Superficially, the Grubhub Restaurant App appears to be less complex and more intuitive. So we’ll tip our hats to them. But as any restaurant owner will know, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Until you work with these apps on a daily basis, it will be difficult to decide which one suits you better.

Cost to Restaurants

So, what will these apps cost your restaurant? Unfortunately, they’re not cheap.

DoorDash Fees

DoorDash is decidedly coy about the fees it charges merchants… not a good sign. Its Terms of Service simply say, “Merchant will pay DoorDash a fee per Drive Order as mutually agreed.” However, “(merchant) partner percentage can vary from 10-25% based on the restaurant and the services they are providing”, according to one Quora post. Another site states, “usually, the percentage of commission from restaurants is 20%.”

Grubhub is more forthcoming about its fees. They appear to be much higher than DoorDash’s.

 Source: Grubhub.

Customer Service

Ratings on the Google Play and Apple App stores are meant to assess how easy an app is to use and the extent to which it adds to customer utility or satisfaction. However, these ratings may be assessing more than just the app. Since the total customer experience encompasses more than an interaction with the app, the reviews and ratings are likely to be colored by those wider experiences, particularly with delivery personnel. Given that caveat, users of DoorDash and Grubhub apps appear to be equally satisfied. On Google Play, DoorDash scored 4.5, while Grubhub got 4.4. On the Apple App Store, the results were similar, with DoorDash earning 4.8 and Grubhub getting 4.7.

This wraps up our roundup of North America’s two leading food delivery services. We hope it will help you choose the right one for your restaurant.

Have you tried a delivery service for your restaurant? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

1 thought on “DoorDash vs. Grubhub – The Complete Comparison”

  1. $41 minus 25% avg cost = $10 cost, $31 gross profit
    $14 delivery fee, gross profit – fee = $17 profit
    Add in Prime costs that generally avg 85% of F&B revenue, 85% of $41 = $35
    How is giving away $14 on a $41 sale sustainable?

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