November 30, 2015

937 words 5 mins read

How not to customer service, by GrubHub

Some may read this as a story of #firstworldproblems where as others will see “social media revenge”. However this is neither, it’s a simple story of a bad experience which turned into an even worse experience through the failure of customer service. Even though my “story” has a mostly satisfactory conclusion, it is obvious from a very minor amount of research that I am not alone in my bad experience with GrubHub. First was “Pissed Consumer” where there are 175 reviews for GrubHub with a 1.5 star average. The “GrubHub” name has a not great B- rating with the BBB whereas the “Seamless” name (remember, it’s the same company, they merged in 2013) has a dismal D- raiting with the BBB. Much of the recent news isn’t stellar with the aptly titled “GrubHub is in danger zone” and a series on the sham restaurants of Grubhub/Seamless.

This story takes place on Sunday November 14th, in the city by the Bay.

~4:30 PM — The girlfriend and I decide that we’re hungry and going to continue our lazy Sunday by ordering dinner. We looked at our options of GrubHub, Caviar, SpoonRocket, Eat24, and Doordash, but eventually settle on a random restaurant on Grubhub.

5:21 PM — Order is placed and email confirmation is received. ETA is 50-60 minutes

6:01 PM — Text message received from GrubHub confirming food is out for delivery. We’re happy because we’re quite hungry now.

6:30 PM — Food hasn’t arrived but we’re trying to be patient.

7:00 PM — Still no food, or any updates. Patience is starting to wear thin; getting quite hangry.

7:23 PM — Per GrubHub’s website, I call the restaurant to inquire about the status of the food. I’m informed that “GrubHub handles the deliveries” and I should call them.

7:24 PM — Call GrubHub’s 877 number and explain the situation. The rep is apologetic and says the food definitely shouldn’t take 2+ hours (which we’ve now passed). However I’m informed that GrubHub outsources the deliveries to a 3rd party, so the rep would have to contact the dispatcher at the delivery company.

7:29 PM — Someone from the delivery company calls (they don’t identify themselves) and says the food will be there “in 10 minutes” (exact quote). I turn on the oven as I don’t have terribly high expectations that the food will arrive even remotely warm.

7:53 PM — Food finally delivered, 2 hours and 32 minutes after order. It is, unsurprisingly cold. Food is put into the oven for reheating.

7:59 PM — While waiting for the food to reheat, I call GrubHub about a refund. After explaining my situation to the rep (calmly) and that I’d like a full refund I was placed on hold. I sat on hold for 20 minutes and the rep never came back on the line. Needless to say I was pissed at that point.

8:20 PM — Food is finally reheated sufficiently. We get to eat just THREE hours after placing an order with GrubHub.

9:26 PM — While more calm and better fed, I was still extremely displeased about the service — especially the 20 minute hold. I was still determined to get my full refund. Emailed [email protected] with my timeline and request for refund.

9:28 PM — Filled out the form on with my timeline and requesting for refund.

9:32 PM — Started tweeting @grubhub about my poor experience and requesting refund.

9:43 PM — GrubHub called me regarding email. Then informed me that the issue was “resolved” in my previous call (the one where I sat on hold for 20 minutes) with $10 refund. I informed the the rep of my timeline (again) and service experience and that I would not settle for anything short of a full refund. The rep told me they weren’t able to authorize such, so I requested they get someone who could. After a few minutes on hold the rep said they would call me back when they got manager approval.

9:54 PM — GrubHub called me and it went straight to Voicemail. In the message they noted that a full refund had been provided.

Our food, reheating
Let’s be honest, it’s not a great story. It certainly was a shitty Sunday for me as I spent most of it hungry or reheating long cold food. However the part that angers me the most is the customer service aspect. It was a huge fight to finally get a refund which I rightly deserve. I’m sorry, but I don’t think anyone (even the execs at GrubHub) would sit in a restaurant for 3 hours only to be served cold food, which is essentially what happened to me. Some would argue that GrubHub isn’t a restaurant and they’d be right. GrubHub is a food service logistics company. They don’t make food, they don’t deliver food. All they do is arrange for the consumer to order food and have it delivered and… their logistics failed.

In my specific case, I got a refund, but only after fighting tooth and nail (on email and twitter) to get it. A majority of the complaints you’ll find on Pissed Consumer or the BBB are very similar to mine. “Food was way late, wouldn’t give refund”. Neither delivering on the service you claim to offer nor providing the customer service to support the unhappy customers is not a winning business strategy. That’s probably why GRUB’s stock is off a 52-week-high of 47.95 to a 52-week-low of 22.49 — less than half. Owch.

I’ve been a customer of GrubHub since September 2011 and I will never use GrubHub again.