Gone are the days when the only way to order take-out and delivery was through a direct call to a restaurant. GrubHub Inc ($GRUB) has been around since 2004, public since April 2014, and is now boasting affiliations with close to 30,000 restaurants nationwide. Stock has been climbing since the company’s first second-quarter earnings report on August 7.
Milking the Online Order Industry
Second quarter revenues rose almost 48% to reach $60 million, beating analyst estimates of $54.7 million. Expected revenue for the third quarter stands at $57.4 million, higher than the mid-point of the company guidance that ranges from $55.5-57.5 million.
More diners are turning to the online delivery and take-out order service, with growth exceeding 50% compared to the same period last year. 4.19 million users turned to GrubHub for their dining search, and the company’s increased marketing efforts has earned it a 34% boost in average daily orders.
Company estimates have valued the online order market at $9 billion, with the entire take-out and delivery market topping $70 billion, according to GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney. The goal of GrubHub’s transition to a public company was one of awareness — while the delivery service grossed $1.3 billion in 2013 food sales (earning around a 10% cut as revenue) and reached 3.4 million diners, there is still a wide margin of opportunity left in the delivery market.
Direct GrubHub competitors include Sprig, Munchery, DoorDash, Postmates, and Spoonrocket, which have raised an aggregate of more than $100 million in sales. Fellow public company Potbelly Corporation (PBPB) released its most recent earnings report, announcing earnings of $0.07 cents per share compared with a loss of $0.03 cents per share in the same quarter last year.
Other companies jumping into the food-delivery service market include Priceline Group Inc. (PCLN) , which acquired Opentable Inc. in late July, and Square’s acquisition of Caviar. Caviar focuses on delivery for popular restaurants that don’t offer the service themselves. Same-day grocery delivery services are also on the rise, with tech giants Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) jumping into the market.
The August 8, 2013 GrubHub-Seamless merger includes MenuPages.com and Allmenus.com, two menu listing websites acquired by each of the merged companies in 2011. Though it is holding on to the Seamless name for those who recognize it, the company recently redistributed $5.8 million in its marketing budget toward its main GrubHub brand while cutting $900,000 from Seamless ads.
Low-Hanging Fruit: Is GrubHub Choosing Raw Sales over Future Growth?
Despite its stock’s positive moves, GrubHub is facing scrutiny over its legitimacy as a long-term investment. Revenue between 2011 and 2013 rose from $60.6 million to $137.1 million, but this 126% jump was met with a 56% drop in net income from $15.2 million to $6.7 million.
Business reports attributed this decline to an increase in its cost of goods sold from 32.3% of sales to 36.1%. Analyst concern is thus one of sustainable profitability, and whether GrubHub’s business model is too focused on growth rather than profit and value creation. In the case of a future acquisition, a lowered prospect for growth brings with it a lower premium buyout offer and thus less value to shareholders.
Criticism notwithstanding, the newly public company is on track to keep investors hungry, and has earned itself a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a 2014 Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.22 per share.