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A tasty first order with GrubHub at Caveman Burgers in Phoenix

Last weekend I tried GrubHub for the first time. I thought I’d share some initial impressions.

You may wonder why a guy like me who literally never has food delivered to his home would go through the trouble of installing the GrubHub app on his phone, creating an account, and so on. Well, during a review of my American Express account last week, I was reminded that one of my card benefits is a $10 monthly dining credit. I’d looked at the list of participating restaurants before, and none were ones I’d go out of my way for — even for $10. However, this time I noticed GrubHub was on the list.

That made curious just long enough to have a look at the list of local restaurants that deliver with GrubHub. However, while scrolling through the list, I noticed I could choose between delivery and pickup at most restaurants. Now I was intrigued. I don’t like delivery, but I do like to grab take-out from restaurants now and then. Taking advantage of a $10 credit for a pickup food order once a month was an idea I could get behind.

As I installed the app on my phone and created a new account, it occurred to me that my brother-in-law had done some food delivery in the past. I wasn’t 100% sure, but I thought it was for GrubHub. I’d seen a number of promotional offers for first-time users, but if the referral credit could go to someone I know, so much the better. So I sent him a text message Saturday asking him for his referral code. He responded a few minutes later with an offer for $10 off my first order over $15.

With the promo code ready to go, I formed a plan. Sunday, after church, I knew we had to pick up a few groceries on our way home, so we’d do our shopping, place the order in the app as we left the store, and drive to pick up our order, which was essentially on the way home. With the price of our order, we’d apply the coupon and most of our American Express credit.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

Back in the car after buying our groceries, I pulled out my phone, and Kathryn and I carefully placed our order for two burgers from Caveman Burgers, a place near our home that we’d been meaning to try for months but hadn’t yet. Kathryn made the order a lot easier by ordering exactly what I ordered. I got the the checkout screen and entered my referral code, at which point I was told the coupon only applied to delivery orders, not pickup.

I re-read the coupon, the terms, the fine print, and nowhere did it say the coupon was only for a delivery order. In my opinion, the offer from GrubHub was deceptive. However, I decided to proceed with the order. I eventually would have eaten at Caveman Burgers either way, and after Mass and shopping, we were both pretty hungry.

At the time of ordering, GrubHub asked me if I wanted to add a tip. To me, that seemed backwards. The time to ask for a tip is after a service has been provided, like Lyft does when I ride with them. I’m certainly not going to commit to a tip for a mystery driver who might dilly-dally and show up with cold food. In any event, I’m not tipping on a pickup order.

On top of my other complaints, the GrubHub app seemed to have trouble keeping me aware of the order’s status. The push notifications would tell me one thing while the status page told me another. At one point it told me the order had been picked up before I even got to the restaurant, then it told me it wasn’t ready. The next time the status changed, I inquired at the counter. The order was indeed ready. The bag was hot, so it couldn’t have been ready for long.

Forgetting about the GrubHub app for a moment, the food we ordered from Caveman Burgers was actually really good. It was one of the best burgers I’d had in a while. No complaints there. Having American Express give me $10 back made it taste even better.

Will I use GrubHub again? Well, I feel the referral offer was misleading at best, and the ordering process could certainly use some polish, but I think I’ll use it to avoid leaving the $10 monthly dining credit on the table. But if I want take-out food after the credit is exhausted, I’ll probably place the order the old-fashioned way.