What Do We Expect From GrubHub Seamless


IPO Awaits

As the bulls are dominating the market and economy continues its recovery, money starts flowing back in risky assets from safe assets such as CDs and Bonds. As capital flight takes off from safe land to risky land, private sector finally gets the chance to enjoy the same level of attention as public sector did over the past 5 years. We are seeing more and more new stock offerings while the tech sector gets hotter and hotter and players are expecting another strong year in 2014. The largest IPO of the year came two days ago from Candy Crush creator, King, which revealed that it was seeking $500 million through a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and other well-known companies who had IPO or had filled IPO in past 12 months – Twitter (TWTR), Go Pro, Square, A10 and etc.

(click to enlarge)

Technology does make our life easier, doesn’t it? The answer: absolutely yes. Sometimes you are surprised how lazy human beings are. Instead of pulling out your cell phone to dial those numbers and then converse with the restaurant get your order, now you can shorten the process by just a few clicks. “More people are ditching phones and ordering takeout online – and one company plans to profit in a big way from that. “ GrubHub seamless, the result of a merger between two start-up companies from last year, had become the largest US online food ordering provider and just filed for a confidential initial public offering according to the news.

Just like other pre-IPO start-up companies, investors really generally have no clue how much the company will be valued at or how much the company will offer on the market. As far as I know, I see the IPO coming as early as April or May 2 due to higher-than-average market liquidity.

How They Generate Revenue – Business Model

It doesn’t take a lot to understand how restaurants generate their revenue but as a value-adding service provider – how is GrubHub Seamless generating its revenue from helping customers and restaurant owners? To be straight-forward the revenue generation can be summarized as this graph.

(click to enlarge)

I am certainly not trying to oversimplify their revenue generating model and I am sure they have other streams which are consistently generating revenue for them, however, just to be plain and simple in this case- GrubHub and Seamless make money by collecting a small percentage of restaurants’ sales (normally 10% -15% sometimes higher) from the food orders they facilitate and also by offering advertising to restaurants who want to be on the top of the list when a customer search for food that they want. In 2013, at the time when merger happened, GrubHub said, “Its service includes more than 20,000 online ordering restaurants; Seamless says its service has more than 12,000 restaurants. Together, they process more than 90,000 orders a day, the companies say.”3 However, according to the lasted data, the combined company process about 150,000 orders a day and had generated more than 100 million revenues in the year of 2012.

Rising Star or Cash Cow?

Due to limited financial insight of these two companies it is fairly hard to measure the growth for the company, however, there is a way we can estimate it. According to past interviews with company’s top executive Matt Maloney, two important KPIs come out to our sight when we are estimating company’s growth profile – the number of affiliated restaurants and the number daily processed orders.

GrubHub Seamless has 28,000 restaurants across 600 cities that post menus or allow customers to order through the company’s websites. That number was around 22,000 prior the merger from last year and it was about 14,000 combined from a year ago – that gives us a 26% CAGR on the affiliated restaurants. Also the number of order processed daily has increased significantly as well (almost a 67% increase on YoY basis).

In addition to that, “there were 4,442 more restaurants in the U.S. in fall 2012 than there were in fall 2011, according to a recent U.S. restaurant census conducted by The NPD Group, a leading global information company.” The total number of U.S. restaurants is now 616,008 — a .7 percent increase over last year, based on NPD’s fall 2012 ReCount®, which is a count of commercial restaurant locations in the United States compiled in the spring and fall each year.4 Although it was the data from last year, it still indicates a positive momentum on consumers’ spending on food and dinning service.

Segment System Type Fall 2011 Fall 2012 PCYA*
TOTAL REST ALL 611,566 616,008 0.7%
CHAINS 273,259 276,238 1.1%
INDEPENDENTS 338,307 339,770 0.4

*Percent Change from a year ago Source: The NPD Group/ReCount®, Fall 2012

As the economy continues to recover, individuals and families are more confident on their future earnings which results a potential higher spending on food and dinning service. To sum up, this industry will be performing well consistently in the next couple years and it won’t suffer too much from major economic turnarounds since people still need to eat on a daily basis.

Aggressive Expansion

We can’t predict future but we can look back at history. If we check Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG) and other major tech companies, after they went public they’ve been aggressively purchasing other small-sized tech companies who have favorable growth potentia by either cash or stock. In fact, just 2012 alone, there were 56 deals happened for companies in internet industry. Now the question should be brought up –will Grubub and Seamless continue

(click to enlarge)its aggressive expansion plan by going out and acquiring other small sized companies after going public?

They are very likely going to pursue such a strategy either within the industry that they are currently operating in or outside of the industry so they could diversify their business into multiple fields. In that way, they can provide a more diversified revenue base. GrubHub Seamless is already a huge portfolio companies within the food ordering industry -they currently own a group of brands that includes MenuPages (menupages.com and Allmenus (allmenus.com) and the combined coverage is over 600 cities in U.S and London.

If we look at company’s current footprint, the current set up (with offices in Chicago, New York, Salt Lake City and London) clearly indicates company’s ability for future expansion across the world. All the infrastructure and the amount of cash the company is going to receive after an IPO event all confirmed a potential aggressive expansion strategy that the company could implement in the coming years.

Buy or Hold?

All being said, GrubHub Seamless has a very unique and profitable business model and they operate in a growing industry plus their well-prepared and expandable business infrastructure really give them the edge to be compete with some other high PEG stock in tech sector. I personally think it would be a good buy and long-term hold stock if the IPO is not overpriced by the underwriters.

2 US Trading Volume by Month, www.itg.com/trading-volume/month/


4 NPD Recount, www.npd.com


Author: Chuhao(Joe) Zhou
Email: wowbu@bu.edu

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Fall In Love With Snowstorm

“Low pressure south of New England early Wednesday afternoon will continue to track northeast and out to sea this evening. However periodic light precipitation will continue into this evening. Taking the form of light snow across northern Massachusetts into southern New Hampshire. An additional 1 to 3 inches of new snowfall is possible.”
——National Weather Service


There wasn’t much on the radar in a way of economic data this week, but there was plenty of snow. Foul weather made headlines again, as winter storms swept across the Southeast and Northeast, bringing significant snowfall and icy conditions. Although the weather could be nasty sometimes, we should still give it some love for the following reasons

Schools are closed

Of course now you could spend more time watching the market when you don’t have school. Light up your fireplace and pull out your laptop….

Increasing Volatility 

“Traders love volatility!”

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BUTC – Weekly Bottom Line


• Capital outflows out of emerging markets, and BIITS in particular, intensified this week, leading the central banks of India, Turkey, and South Africa to raise their policy interest rates.

• Turbulence among EMs did not undermine the Fed’s resolve to reduce asset purchases, with the FOMC trimming the pace of bond buying by $10bn to $65bn per month, without even a passing reference in the statement to the current volatility.
• As such, it would appear that the FOMC believes that the current bout of volatility is transitory and is unlikely to materially impact the global outlook. Moreover, the cut in bond buying is a vote of confidence in the strength of U.S. recovery, which should prop up global growth (and EM exports) this year.
• This belief was underscored by the advance estimate of fourth quarter GDP, which grew by a healthy 3.2% on consumer and export strength.

Chuhao(Joe) Zhou
Source: Bloomberg, TD Economics

Editor: Chuhao(Joe) Zhou
Email: wowbu@bu.edu

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Market Correction? It’s Happening

Hello Readers,

A lot of you are probably wondering what is going on with this market. 2014 started off pretty poorly with  the S&P down ~3% and volatility skyrocketing as measured by a 20% increase in VIX. Investors are getting more and more worried about the current state of the economy. With the recent PMI data out of China coming in weak and January jobs added numbers coming in way below expectations, there is a looming uncertainty in our economic recovery.

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BUTC Premarket Updates – Today’s Gap Up Stocks

Sent: Thu Dec 12 2013 9:30:00 AM – 10:01:09 AM EST
Gap Up for NASDAQ, NYSE, and AMEX  


Today’s Gap Up Stocks
Symbol Gap Size Prev. Close Open Last Change Since Last Close
CACG 0.59 $10.00 $10.69 $10.69  0.69 (6.90%)
FRBA 0.66 $6.25 $6.96 $6.15  0.10 (1.60%)
JTPY 0.20 $1.99 $2.25 $2.25  0.26 (13.07%)
SGMA 0.7909 $5.98 $5.93 $6.80  0.82 (13.71%)
PATH 0.10 $2.31 $2.45 $2.45  0.14 (6.06%)
PRTA 1.54 $27.39 $29.20 $29.68  2.29 (8.38%)
AMBI 0.49 $7.85 $8.75 $8.10  0.25 (3.18%)
SNCR 1.12 $28.17 $30.20 $29.85  1.68 (5.96%)
XLS 1.42 $17.45 $19.00 $19.15  1.66 (9.49%)
SRPT 0.6901 $17.41 $18.69 $19.94  2.53 (14.53%)


Markets Snapshot
Name Last Today’s Change
NASDAQ 3,997.22  6.596 (0.16%)
S&P 500 1,775.71  6.51 (0.37%)
DJIA 15,749.26  94.27 (0.60%)
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Open house@MIT Sloan School of Management

Dear members,

Great news for those of you who are interested in pursuing a master degree in Finance or just want to know more about Sloan School of Management in general – BU Trading Club is invited to MIT Sloan Master of Finance Open House next Wednesday, December 4th. If you wish to know more information about this event, feel free to contact me or other e-board members.

Register here!


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FB Earnings Trade 10/31

Hello Traders,

Today, I traded FB based on their earnings announcement last night. Overall, their earnings announcement was great. They beat consensus, increased guidance, and told us that their active users increased 25% last quarter. All very good news! As a result, FB was up as much as 15% after hours last night. However during the conference call, they told us that they are slowly losing young teenage users. As a result, the 15% gains were erased and the stock opened down 5% this morning.
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