Timeline of online food delivery

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This is a timeline of online food delivery.

Big picture

Time period Key developments in online food delivery
1996–2001 This era is characterized by the rise of the Internet, the dotcom boom and the subsequent crash. Dotcom startups like Webvan, HomeGrocer, and Kozmo started online grocery delivery, but ended up closing in 2001 after the dotcom crash. Seamless is also founded.
2001–2010 GrubHub is founded. By the late 2000s, major pizza chains have created their own mobile applications and started doing 20-30% of their business online.[1]
2011–2015 With increased smartphone penetration, and the growth of both Uber and the sharing economy, food delivery startups start to receive more attention again. This era is associated with the founding of Caviar and Instacart.[2] By 2015, online ordering is about to overtake phone ordering.[3] But by September, online delivery still accounted for just about 3 percent of the 61 billion U.S. restaurant "visits" or transactions.[4]
2016 This period sees the shutdown of many online food ordering and delivery services, with the services engaged in food preparation seeing the hardest hits. SpoonRocket, Din, and Bento shut down, while services such as Sprig and Munchery undergo belt-tightening.
2017 DoorDash and Eat24 both partner with robot delivery companies (Starship Technologies and Marble respectively), and some observers see robot delivery as a necessary component of a sustainable and defensible business model for online food delivery.
2018 The online food delivery market reaches US$35 billion globally.[5]
2019 Home food delivery experiences rapid growth in China, which is expected to lead the world in 2019, followed by the United States, India, the United Kingdom and Germany.[6]

Full timeline

Year Month and date (if available) Event type Organization type Details Country/location
1989 Launch Grocery delivery Peapod, which pioneers the online grocery delivery concept, is founded by Andrew and Thomas Parkinson in Evanston, IL.[7] United States
1994 January Going online Fast food chain "PizzaNet" – Pizza Hut’s digital ordering hub, launches, and accepts the first-ever online order, a large pepperoni, mushroom and extra cheese pizza.[8] United States
1995 Launch World Wide Waiter (now known as Waiter.com), launches as the first online food ordering service.[9] The site originally services only northern California, later expanding to several additional cities in the United States.[10] United States
1996 July Launch Grocery delivery Webvan, an online grocery delivery service, is founded by Louis Borders. It IPOs on November 5, 1999.[11] United States
1998 March Launch Multi-purpose delivery Kozmo, an online delivery services for many services (including groceries) founded.[12] United States
1999 Launch Online food ordering Takeaway.com launches in the Netherlands.[13] Netherlands
1999 December 1 Launch Online food ordering SeamlessWeb is founded in order to provide companies with a web-based system for ordering food from restaurants and caterers.[14] United States
2000 June 26 Merger/acquisition Grocery delivery Webvan buys out HomeGrocer.[15] United States
2000 Launch Online food ordering Yemeksepeti launches in Turkey. As of 2019, it is the biggest online delivery portal in the country.[16] Turkey
2001 April 12 Shutdown Multi-purpose delivery Kozmo shuts down.[17] The company had made profits in New York, Boston and San Francisco in December and secured $25 million in investments prior to shutdown.
2001 July Shutdown Grocery delivery Webvan shuts down.[18]
2001 Going online Fast food chain Papa John's pizza launches online ordering.[19] United States
2001 Launch Online food ordering Just Eat launches in Denmark.[20] Denmark
2002 March Going online Grocery store Safeway begins delivering online grocery orders.[21] United States
2004 Launch Online food ordering GrubHub, an online restaurant delivery service, is founded in 2004 by two web developers, Matt Maloney and Mike Evans, who were looking for an alternative to paper menus.[22][23] United States
2004 Launch Online food ordering Talabat launches in Kuwait. It is the largest online food ordering platform in the Middle East.[24] Kuwait
2004 Launch Online food ordering Online ordering platform delivery.com launches.[25] United States
2004 Launch Snapfinger is founded as a restaurant search and remote ordering site for take-out, delivery and catering.[26] United States
2006 Launch Online food ordering Online food ordering site Hungryhouse launches.[27] United Kingdom
2006 Launch Online food ordering Australian online food and beverage ordering app Menulog launches as the first aggregated food delivery service in the country.[28] Australia
2007 August Launch (subsidiary) Grocery delivery AmazonFresh initially offers home grocery delivery to residents of the Seattle suburb of Mercer Island in an invitation-only beta test in August 2007.[29] United States
2008 March 1 Launch Online food ordering Eat24hours, an online restaurant delivery service, is founded.[30] United States
2008 July Launch Restaurant search and discovery service Zomato is founded in India. It would become a popular restaurant discovery service.[31] India
2008 Launch Online food delivery Ele.me launches in China as an “online to offline” (O2O) platform for mobile users. It provides the ability to interact with restaurants for food delivery.[32] China
2009 January Launch Catering service ZeroCater, a startup for delivering catered food to businesses, is founded.[33][34] United States
2009 June 1 Launch Online food ordering Pizza ordering platform Slice launches.[35] United States
2009 July Product enhancement Fast food chain Pizza Hut launches a free iPhone application today that offers mobile ordering and games to play while one waits for delivery.[36] United States
2009 August Launch Catering service Roaming Hunger, a website for finding food trucks, launches the first website dedicated to booking catering from food trucks at any location.[37] United States
2009 Launch Point of sale Restaurant management platform Upserve launches.[38] United States
2009 Launch Online food ordering and delivery Online food delivery service Artizone is founded.[39] United States
2010 Launch Online food ordering and delivery Online food ordering platform EatStreet launches in Wisconsin.[40] United States
2010 Launch Online food ordering OpenRest launches. It specializes in mobile online food ordering.[41] United States
2010 Launch Online food ordering and delivery EAT Club is founded as a food technology company. It allows offices to order and get food delivered from local restaurants via the web or mobile devices.[42] United States
2011 March Launch Food preparation, online food ordering, and delivery Munchery, a service that allows people to order food online from professional chefs and have it delivered, launches in private beta. The company was formally founded four months ago, in November 2010.[43] United States
2011 May 1 Launch Online grocery delivery Logistics and delivery company Postmates launches.[44] United States
2011 October Launch Meal delivery service Meal-kit venture HelloFresh launches in Berlin.[45] Germany
2011 August Launch Meal delivery service San Francisco-based OrderAhead is founded as an on-demand logistics company that enables people to order pickup and delivery take-out food from local merchants.[46] United States
2012 Launch Meal kit delivery Blue Apron launches. The company delivers meal kits to people for home food preparation.[47][48] United States
2012 February Launch Online food ordering and delivery DoorDash, which would later become a Y-Combinator summer 2013 food delivery company, issues its first delivery.[49]
2012 March Launch Online platform ChowNow launches in Chicago as an online platform for restaurant pick-up and delivery.[50] United States
2012 July 1 Launch Online food ordering and delivery Instacart, which offers an app that lets users order groceries and delivers them, is founded.[51] United States
2012 September 12 Launch Online food ordering and delivery Caviar launches, and starts off offering delivery in the San Francisco area from high-end restaurants rated 4-stars or higher on Yelp.[52] United States
2012 Launch Point of sale Cloud-based restaurant software company Toast, Inc. launches.[53] United States
2012 Launch Online food ordering Online meal delivery firm Foodpanda is founded in Germany. By 2014, it would be active in dozens of emerging markets.[54] Germany
2012 Launch Meal delivery services Cook-at-home meal kit service Gousto launches in the United Kingdom.[55] United Kingdom
2012 Launch Meal delivery services New York-based Plated launches. It specializes in meal kits.[56] United States
2012 October Launch Online food ordering Armenia based food delivery company Menu Group is founded.[57]
2012 Launch Online food ordering Canadian technology company SkipTheDishes launches.[58] Canada
2013 April Launch Food preparation, online food ordering, and delivery Sprig, a delivery service for healthy meals, launches in San Francisco.[59] United States
2013 June Launch Food preparation, online food ordering, and delivery SpoonRocket, a Y-Combinator-backed company for delivering fast food meals, is founded.[60] United States
2013 June Expansion Grocery delivery AmazonFresh expands out to Los Angeles.[61] It would later expand out to San Francisco by December 2013. United States
2013 June Launch Meal delivery services Chicago-based Home Chef launches.[62] United States
2013 August Merger/acquisition Online food ordering Seamless and GrubHub merge.[63] United States
2013 February Launch Online food delivery British online food delivery company Deliveroo is founded.[64] United Kingdom
2013 Launch Digital convenience delivery service US delivery start-up goPuff is founded.[65] United States
2014 Early Launch Food delivery and restaurant Hello Curry launches in India.[66] India
2014 February Launch Berlin-based company Foodora is founded in Germany.[67] Germany
2014 July Launch Online food ordering Indian company Dunzo launches.[68] India
2014 August 1 Launch Online restaurant food ordering Swiggy launches in India as a food ordering and delivery company that provides food service solutions for restaurants.[69] India
2014 August 4 Merger/acquisition Online food ordering and delivery Square acquires Caviar.[70] United States
2014 August Launch Online food ordering Uber Eats launches in Los Angeles.[71] United States
2014 Launch Online restaurant food ordering Food delivery service Wolt is founded in Helsinki.[72] Finland
2015 February 10 Merger/acquisition Online food ordering Yelp acquires Eat24.[30] United States
2015 February 18 Launch (subsidiary) Online food ordering and delivery Uber launches into the food delivery space with UberEATS, starting off in Barcelona.[73]
2015 April 16 Market size Online food ordering and delivery Online food ordering business in India witnessing exponential growth. Organized food business reaches worth US$48 billion, of which food delivery is US$15 billion.[74] Several startups rose in 2015 including Zomato, TinyOwl, Swiggy, Innerchef, Food Panda, The First Meal and Fresh Menu with focus on apps.[75] India
2015 April 28 Launch Food preparation, online food ordering, and delivery Prepared food delivery startup Maple launches in New York City. Like Sprig and SpoonRocket, Maple handles all aspects, from preparation to ordering to delivery.[76] United States
2015 October 5 Partnership Online food ordering and delivery Tapingo announces launch of large scale cooperation with Aramark to expand its services into many university campuses across the United States United States
2015 Launch Delivery service Rappi launches in Colombia as an on-demand delivery startup. It would expand its delivery service in several countries in Latin America.[77] Colombia
2015 Growth Online ordering begins overtaking phone ordering.[3]
2015 Launch Restaurant reservations and pre-ordering San Francisco-based Lunch reservation app Allset launches.[78] United States
2015 Launch Delivery service Spanish start-up Glovo is founded in Barcelona.[79] Spain
2016 March 15 Shutdown Food preparation, online food ordering, and delivery San Francisco Bay Area-focused on-demand delivery service SpoonRocket shuts down after failing to raise capital to continue operations, despite achieving unit economics profitability. It says it will transition customers to competitor Spring, which is offering SpoonRocket users a $10 discount.[80][81][82] The next day, it is announced that Brazilian food chain iFood is acquiring SpoonRocket for its technology.[83][84] United States
2016 September Delivery accounts for 1.7 billion restaurant transactions in the United States, or just about 3 percent of the 61 billion U.S. restaurant “visits” or transactions in the year that ended in September.[85] United States
2016 October 11 Acquisition (failed) Online food ordering and delivery Bloomberg reports that Square tried to sell Caviar (with Uber and GrubHub as potential suitors) but failed to agree on a price with either buyer, with Square proposing a price tag of $100 million. Caviar loses money, but Square (a public company) does not provide information on the extent of its losses.[86]
2016 October 25 Shutdown Meal kit delivery Recipe delivery service Din shuts down after failing to become profitable. Despite achieving profitability on a unit economics basis, it failed to make enough of a margin to offset operational overhead.[87]
2016 December 9 Shutdown Food preparation, online food ordering, and delivery Bento, a delivery service that provides pan-Asian cuisine, shuts down. Despite achieving unit economics profitability, the service has to shut down after running out of money and failing to raise more.[88] Upon shutdown, the co-founders share more information on the company's trajectory, struggles, mistakes, and difficult decision to shut down.[89] Prior to the shutdown, the company transitioned from high burn to profitability by transitioning from an on-demand delivery model to a catering model.[90]
2016 Launch Online food ordering Smoothie box delivery service Craft Smoothie launches in New Zealand.[91] New Zealand
2017 January Launch Online food ordering Berkeley, California-based startup company Kiwi Campus is founded. It offers food delivery with robots for campus colleges.[92] United States
2017 March 1 Acquisition Online food ordering and delivery Square, Inc., owner of online food ordering and delivery service Caviar, acquires online food ordering and delivery service OrderAhead. Simultaneously, Caviar launches a takeout service, a feature taken from its acquisition of OrderAhead.[93][94] United States
2017 March 21 Robot delivery Online food ordering and delivery DoorDash rolls out six delivery robots for use in California, following trials in Redwood City.[95] The delivery is in partnership with Starship Technologies, which is also partnering with courier service Postmates.[96] United States
2017 April 12 Robot delivery Online food ordering and delivery San Francisco-based startup Marble announces a partnership with Yelp's Eat24 where Marble's robots deliver food for partner restaurants, initially geographically limited to some parts of San Francisco. The robots are maintained by Marble, and initially have both a human chaperone and a remote person monitoring the robot.[97] United States
2017 May 8 Shutdown Food preparation, online food ordering, and delivery Prepared food delivery startup Maple, that had raised over $25 million, shuts down operations in New York City (the only place it had been running). Its technology would live on and be used by UK-based food delivery startup Deliveroo.[98][99][100] United States, United Kingdom
2017 May 26 Shutdown Food preparation, online food ordering, and delivery Sprig shuts down after several months of struggling. Prior to shutting down, Sprig had closed its Chicago business, started using Caviar to deliver food, and started serving food to walk-in customers. The company had raised $56.7 million over its lifetime.[101][102] United States
2017 June 16 Acquisition Amazon announces it is acquiring Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. The move is seen as potentially affecting food delivery, combining a huge physical store presence with an online delivery network.[103][104] United States
2017 June 29 IPO Meal kit delivery Blue Apron IPOs at a price of $10 per share, selling 3 million shares in the IPO.[105][106] The price falls to about $6 within a few weeks, with Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods and its patent for prepared food kits cited as reasons.[107][108]
2017 August Partnership Online food ordering and delivery Aha, the largest online marketplace of Iceland, partners with Israeli drone company Flytrex to expand the former's delivery options by using the drone delivery system.[109][110] Iceland
2017 September Partnership Online food ordering and delivery Amazon partners with mobile and online food ordering platform Olo with aims at expanding the former's online food ordering and delivery business.[111][112][113][114] United States
2017 October Launch Online food ordering Facebook announces its new feature that allows users to order food from local restaurants using its app. Facebook users in the United States can order food for pick-up or delivery directly from a restaurant’s Facebook page or from Facebook’s Explore menu.[115][116][117][118] United States
2017 November Acquisition German owned online food delivery company Delivery Hero announces acquisition of popular Egyptian online food ordering platform Otlob through a partnership agreement.[119][120] Germany, Egypt
2017 December Acquisition Indian transportation network company Ola Cabs acquires local operations of food delivery start-up Foodpanda, and announces US$200 million investment to expand Foodpanda’s India business to allow it to take advantage of the market’s rapid growth.[121][122][123][124] India
2018 January Growth India’s online food ordering sector is reported to experience a strong growth rate in the number of daily orders, with ordering apps like Swiggy, UberEats, and Zomato slowly changing the landscape of eating from restaurants.[125][126] India
2018 February Acquisition Dubai-based Emirati transportation network company Careem acquires RoundMenu, a restaurant listing and food ordering platform that operates across the Middle East.[127][128][129] United Arab Emirates
2018 March Funding Food delivery service DoorDash raises US$535 million by a group of investors led by SoftBank.[130][131]
2018 April Acquisition Alibaba Group fully acquires food delivery platform Ele.me for US$9.5 billion, with aims at fully integrating the food delivery platform into its ecosystem.[132][133][134][135] China
2018 May Launch Online food ordering Singapore-based ridesharing company Grab launches its own food delivery business, GrabFood.[136][137] Singapore
2018 June Technology Alibaba Group-owned Chinese online food delivery platform Ele.me reports having been granted approval by authorities to fly drones for assisting in food delivery.[138][139] China
2018 July Acquisition Dutch online food delivery firm Takeaway.com acquires Israeli online ordering company 10bis for US$157 million in cash.[140][141][142] Netherlands, Israel
2018 August Partnership Online food ordering American retailing company Kroger and autonomous vehicle startup Nuro launch their driverless delivery service in Scottsdale, Arizona.[143][144] United States
2018 September Technology Online food ordering Walmart tests its own network of grocery delivery independent drivers with aims at offering home grocery delivery.[145][146][147] United States
2018 November Funding Brazilian online food delivery portal iFood raises US$500 million in funding. The investors are Movile, Naspers and Innova Capital.[148][149][150][151] Brazil
2019 January Technology Online food ordering Starship and Sodexo launch a robot food delivery service at George Mason University in Virginia, giving students and staff access to food within an average of 15 minutes or less. The new delivery service costs US$1.99 per delivery.[152][153][154][155] United States
2019 January Competition Online food ordering Research shows that Grubhub is the most popular multi-restaurant delivery service in the United States with 37.8% of respondents using the app, followed by Uber Eats at 36% and DoorDash at 19.9%.[156] United States
2019 February Partnership Online food ordering British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer and British online supermarket Ocado confirm £750m deal for full online M&S grocery products delivery, while Ocado would also continue to supply its own-label products and big name branded goods.[157][158][159][160] United Kingdom
2019 March Technology Online food ordering British groceries retailer Co-op Food launches online delivery service using electric cargo bikes.[161][162][163] United Kingdom
2019 April Growth The online food ordering and delivery market in China is reported to have reached US$65.8 billion in 2018, up 112.5 percent year on year.[164] China
2019 April Technology Alphabet Inc.-owned Wing announces delivery of takeaway food, coffee and medicines by drone to about 100 homes in Canberra.[165] Australia
2019 May Competition Online food ordering DoorDash overtakes Grubhub as the leader in online food delivery concerning monthly sales in the United States.[166] United States
2019 May 13 Competition Article entitled "Top 10 Successful Online Food Delivery Apps in the World" lists the following apps: Zomato, UberEats, FoodPanda, Swiggy, Grubhub, Deliveroo, Domino’s Pizza, Just Eat, DoorDash, and Postmates.[167]
2019 June Shutdown Amazon shuts down its 4-year-old Amazon Restaurants project that delivered plates to Prime members in 20 cities in the Unites States.[168] United States
2019 June 20 Competition Article entitled "The Best Online Food Delivery Apps in the World" lists the following apps: Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Caviar, Postmates, Just Eat, Deliveroo, and Blue Apron.[169]
2020 Growth Online food ordering The COVID-19 pandemic breaks out. Countrywide lockdowns are mandated throughout the world, limiting the movement of people, and massively accelerating the shift to online ordering. Demand for food delivery explodes. An increased number of restaurants start offering home delivery, often as the only option they have in order to maintain the business continuity.[170][171][172] Worldwide
2021 Technology According to October 2018 report, Uber plans to begin drone food delivery by this year.[173][174][175]
2030 Growth According to Swiss investment bank UBS' June 2018 report, online food delivery market will grow to US$365 billion globally by the time.[5] Worldwide

Numerical and visual data

Google Scholar

The following table summarizes per-year mentions on Google Scholar as of August 15, 2021.

Year "online food delivery"
2000 0
2002 5
2004 1
2006 1
2008 4
2010 6
2012 14
2014 18
2016 43
2018 193
2020 834
Online food delivery google schoolar.png

Google Trends

The image below shows Google Trends data for Online food delivery (Search term), from January 2004 to March 2021, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map.[176]

Online food delivery gt.png

The comparative chart below shows Google Trends data for Grubhub (Online food ordering company), Uber Eats (Online food ordering company) and DoorDash (Online food ordering company), from January 2004 to March 2021, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map.[177]

Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash gt.png

Google Ngram Viewer

The chart below shows Google Ngram Viewer data for Online food delivery, from 1990 to 2019.[178]

Online food delivery ngram.png

Wikipedia Views

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia article Online food delivery, on desktop, mobile-web, desktop-spider, mobile-web-spider and mobile app, from July 2015 to February 2021.[179]

Online food delivery wv.png

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia articles DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats, on desktop from December 2007 to February 2021[180]

Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash wv.png


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Category:Technology company timelines Category:Online food ordering