Whether the client is an office with a few employees or a giant business with thousands, Seamless believes it has the answer to its lunch-and-dinner delivery needs. If asked, it will go very large.
"Last year, our single largest order was $13,000," says Nick Worswick, the general manager of corporate accounts at Seamless. That's a considerable meal. And it was delivered.
Eating at your desk, eating in a conference room or eating in the car is becoming an increasingly popular American pastime. Easy delivery is partly fueling this, helped by the Internet, and it's not just the national pizza makers. Starbucks (SBUX) is going the delivery route. Whole Foods (WFM) is doing the same. The quest for ultimate dining and beverage convenience doesn't end.
Seamless isn't overly concerned with those major brands, instead focusing on serving the foods found in the independent, family-owned restaurants out there. It's not a bad idea, considering how much potential business there is. GrubHub Inc. (GRUB), the corporate owner of Seamless, says that, based on industry data, Americans spent $221 billion at independent restaurants in 2013. One-third -- that's $70 billion -- is believed to have been spent on takeout and delivery. Remember, that doesn't include the Dominos and Pizza Huts of the world.
Created through the merger of the formerly separate businesses of GrubHub and Seamless, all of what is now GrubHub had gross food sales (including fees and taxes) of about $1.8 billion in 2014. That led to revenue of $253.9 million. It reported the unique metric of 182,800 "daily average grubs" -- that's how many orders generated revenue each day on average. Investors have approved of the model. Since completing its IPO last year, GrubHub shares are up about 35%, now trading around $45.
The corporate lunch opportunity
In total, the GrubHub network includes more than 30,000 restaurants in over 800 U.S. cities. The Seamless corporate offering itself is in about 40 markets, mostly in the U.S. Among the customers Seamless lists are Twitter and Deloitte. Its goal is to convince customers they'll get not only convenience (and ensure employees aren't too far from a meeting) but savings for the company, as well. Corporate accounts are about 30% of the Seamless lunch business, though the company doesn't provide specifics beyond that, such as dollars spent or number of orders. Worswick, however, says it has room to keep building.
"As a company, we think that the lunchtime opportunity is a big one regardless of what city you're in or whether you're an individual diner or a diner on our corporate platform, and we're continuing to invest in it," he says.
Food matters in the workplace. A survey by Seamless found that last year, when asked to rank benefits they were most happy to get, employees put food second behind only fitness offerings. The survey also determined that businesses seem to be taking note -- 26% of employee respondents said their company provided some type of food benefit, up from 15% the year before.
Seamless corporate customers have options, including the ability to order from multiple restaurants or to set up catering. Worswick believes that, like other parts of GrubHub, it's possible for corporate lunch to gain ground outside of the largest cities.
"It can definitely work in small towns, and in fact we have customers in small towns," he says. "The question really is, from a sales perspective, where do we want to be spending our time and energy signing up new corporate customers. And since the opportunity is so large in a few major metropolitan markets, we've decided to focus on those markets."
But growth is being seen in other towns, Worswick says. "We have pretty good data to suggest that this works outside of places like New York and Chicago," he says.
Just know that wherever you are, the beer and wine are on you. Seamless can get you the food, but it doesn't deliver alcohol.