(Photo by Roberto Torres)
Food delivery staple Grubhub has officially opened the doors to its 15,000-square-foot office on the corner of 16th and Cherry streets, where 100 local staffers of the Chicago-based company have been toiling away since February.
On Monday morning, Grubhub CTO Maria Belousova ceremoniously cut the ribbon alongside Chief Product Officer Sam Hall and Mayor Jim Kenney, flanked by a few dozen members of the company’s Philly team.
Until today, the staffers had been scattered at five different offices around the city. And though it had been offering its services to local restaurants since 2009, Grubhub had not gained a proper Philly presence until February 2017, when it nabbed around 30 staffers from the ashes of shuttered delivery startup Zoomer. At the time, there were no plans to open an office here or expand that team.
“We are just adding 30 to 40 developers and engineers from their team, who we believe can accelerate the improvement of our delivery product end to end, including its efficiency,” Grubhub CFO Adam DeWitt said on an earnings call at the time.
Now, the company’s local presence is a hundred strong. Belousova relates that growth with the quality of the Philly talent pool.
“In 2017 we hired our first engineering team here and it was amazing,” Belousova said. “Many of the folks are still here and doing exciting work. It’s not a surprise, with over 100 colleges and universities … the talent pool here is outstanding. I can’t wait to start putting amazing technical talent in engineering, data science, systems engineering and operations here in this space.”
Pause for a minute and grasp the significance of this: A publicly traded company — which delivers almost a half-million daily orders of the likes of sushi and fried chicken to 2,000 U.S. cities — nabs a small group of staffers from a shuttered startup, then expands its tech presence in Philadelphia two years later. You can find another layer of significance in Grubhub’s stance as a consumer-facing company, which now finds itself with a sizable presence in a city that has built a B2B reputation.
“The city values our businesses and we’re happy to support the growth and expansion of businesses here in Center City and all commercial corridors in every neighborhood of our city,” said Mayor Kenney in brief remarks after the ribbon-cutting. “We’re proud to stand with Gruhbhb on this exciting day.”
How does a company decide to build a local hub? Well, in keeping with the stump speech the City gave Amazon last year, CPO Hall said Philly just had the right mix of factors.
“The talent pool here is incredible,” Hall said, standing feet away from meeting rooms playfully named “Hoagie” and “Soft Pretzel.” “The location is incredibly accessible. The restaurant scene is lively. And these cheesesteaks are great perk as well.”
Director of Commerce Harold Epps signaled to the Grubhub news as a sign of the City’s continues focus on tech as key industry in Philly.
“Grubhub is a great brand and we’re happy to have them here,” Epps said.
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