Grubhub Leverages Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ on Campus as Aggregators Woo Gen Z


Grubhub is bringing Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” checkout technology to on-campus convenience stores as aggregators compete to reach students in a bid to secure their long-term loyalty.

The Chicago-based aggregator announced Tuesday (Aug. 29) that its campus business is partnering with the eCommerce giant to make the computer vision checkout system available to colleges and universities, with Loyola University Maryland set to be the first to offer the option.

“Our installation with Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology is another example of how we are strengthening our relationship with our campus partners with cost-saving technology and driving student adoption,” Eric Ferguson, the aggregator’s chief operations officer, said in a statement. “The services and products we provide for our campus partners are designed to enhance and improve the dining experience, and we’re excited to offer this innovative and frictionless technology to our campus partners.” 

To use the checkout method, consumers scan a QR code in the Grubhub app upon entering the on-campus shops. Students who want to adopt the technology must download the aggregator’s app.

This partnership comes as aggregators look to seize on Gen Z’s disproportionate interest in on-demand food delivery. According to a PYMNTS survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. consumers in June for the Connected Dining series, 40% of respondents said they had used an aggregator to place an order at least once in the last six months. That share jumps to 52% for Gen Z.

In an interview with PYMNTS earlier this year, Madeline Maguire, senior director of B2B marketing at Grubhub, spoke to the value of reaching young consumers as the aggregator looks expand its user base for decades to come.

“Acquiring these diners earlier in life and providing a great customer experience — the better we can do that, the better long-term retention that we see,” Maguire said. “We want to acquire these diners now, so that when they age out of college, Grubhub is still their delivery provider of choice.” 

Indeed, Grubhub is far from the only aggregator looking to win this valuable segment’s loyalty. For instance, DoorDash announced earlier this year a partnership with education technology company Chegg, enabling college students who are subscribed to the latter’s Study Pack program, which includes a range of educational support tools, to get a free DashPass Student membership.

Reducing checkout friction can be a key way to win the loyalty of consumers of all ages. According to a study highlighted in PYMNTS’ “Digital-First Banking Tracker® Series Report,” 66% of consumers said they prefer self-service models over staffed checkout lanes.

Across age groups, Grubhub trails behind the United States’ top two aggregators in terms of usage. Additional research from the series found that, in June, only 35% of aggregator users reported that they made purchases from Grubhub. Meanwhile, 77% of aggregator customers reported using category leader DoorDash, and 49% said the same of U.S. runner-up Uber Eats. 

Additionally, the study found that Grubhub usage has fallen since the close of last year, while DoorDash adoption among aggregator customers has grown.