- Grubhub this week announced a new assisted ordering feature, which will begin rolling out to restaurants Aug. 23. The feature replaces phone orders by giving customers three option prompts: place an order, ask questions about a previously placed order or ask any other questions.
- According to a company blog post, customers’ calls will be routed to either a member of a Grubhub customer service representative, who will take an order on behalf of a restaurant, or its care team. Customers with other questions will be routed directly to the restaurant, which will not be charged for the call. Grubhub states there is no additional cost to customers who use assisted ordering.
- This feature could potentially be a solution to Grubhub’s ongoing issues with phone orders, which has led to restaurant complaints, lawsuits and, most recently, legislation in New York City prohibiting third-party delivery companies from charging restaurants for phone order that didn't result in a sale.
Grubhub has previously attempted to make changes to its phone policy to correct its issues, including the formation of a task force and the launch of a three-point plan, which included an extension of its look-back period for restaurants to review all phone orders.
Assisted ordering could finally nip the issue for good, while simultaneously streamlining the experience for both customers and restaurants. It could also help restaurants facing labor pressures by routing non-germane calls away from their staff. While restaurants cannot opt-out of the feature, the company indicates several times in its blog that a restaurant won’t be charged for customer calls routed through assisted ordering.
The company also states Grubhub’s customer service representatives are expected to “clearly state that they are from Grubhub” and not the restaurant, and that restaurants will be reimbursed for food made in error because of a customer service representative.
According to a Grubhub spokesperson, “We’re always looking to make the ordering experience easier for restaurants and diners. That’s why we’re offering this new, assisted way for diners to order from Grubhub’s restaurant partners to replace phone orders, while still enabling diners to reach restaurants directly to ask questions or confirm information.”
This feature comes days after Grubhub announced a partnership with Olo to integrate restaurants’ digital orders directly into their point-of-sale system. This should further streamline restaurants’ orders as more customers place their orders via digital channels. It may not be enough to shift consumers' preferences back to third-party, however. In July, just 16% of consumers said ordering directly from a third-party provider is their preferred method, compared to 20% who said calling a restaurant directly is preferred and 21% who order directly from the restaurant online.