GrubHub Chief Executive Officer Matt Maloney wore a new navy, pinstriped, three-piece suit to his company's debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. And true to the tech-sector advocate he is, he bought it from another local startup, Trunk Club, the high-end online personal shopping service for men.
"I will cherish this suit forever," he said.
And that was about as euphoric as Maloney got in a midday phone interview on the day the company's stock shot up about 31 percent, to $34 from $26, marking another breakthrough for Chicago's tech community. The stock's closing price Friday valued the 10-year-old online restaurant ordering company at nearly $2.67 billion.
"The IPO isn't the goal," Maloney said. "The IPO for us, at least the way I look at the world, is this is really the starting line. ... We have a lot to prove. We need to justify our valuation now, and we take that very seriously."
Displaying maturity and temperance, the 38-year-old said, "This is incredibly exciting for me and this company, but in the scope of the world, this is just one more day in the market."
The heart of Maloney's pitch is that GrubHub estimates that $67 billion was spent on takeout at about 350,000 independent restaurants in 2012, 97 percent of which was placed through a paper menu, "which is completely absurd," he said.
Better sharing and analysis of data from the millions of food orders it processes is one strategy Maloney plans to deploy to capture more revenue. GrubHub takes a cut of the online orders, so it only makes money when its restaurants make money.
"If there's a restaurant that is potentially missing a big condo building, we can say, 'Hey, if you increase your delivery zone by two blocks, you can increase your deliveries by 10 percent,'" Maloney said. "Same thing with hours. Some restaurants shut down delivery early, and they don't realize there's a great late-night crowd. All they have to do is staff a chef and a delivery person, and they have tremendous upside in their business. Same thing with pricing. I can help by aggregating stats on what a California roll costs in Chicago versus New York."
Maloney said he's not going to charge for these insights, which are currently shared in one-on-one conversations with clients.
"But in the future we can institutionalize and scale that data and do a better job, and that's where growth comes from," Maloney said.
GrubHub has the advantage of trying to attract new restaurants and diners from the dominant market position; it merged with its largest rival, Seamless, last year. Meanwhile, Yelp has added online ordering. But the greatest threat seems to be restaurant chains starting their own online ordering services.
"You don't go on GrubHub to research a restaurant," Maloney said. "You go on GrubHub because you want to be fed in the next 60 minutes. And that's really not why you use Yelp. ... I have great respect for them, but Yelp is not as directly competitive as a lot of people perceive."
A Bennett classic
Bija Bennett wanted to capture her father's story on video for his descendants.
But that simple, private mission soon evolved into an approximately 40-hour public installation by video artist Lincoln Schatz that captures Marshall Bennett's life story in his own words, spliced into clips set to music by Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Ken Olsen. The clips appear in a random order dictated by computer software, so that each viewing is unlike any other.
Bennett, 92, co-founded Bennett & Kahnweiler, the commercial real estate company now known as Colliers International, with partial backing from the Pritzker family. A 14-minute clip was unveiled at a reception Thursday that drew a who's who of Chicago real estate execs — Quintin Primo, John Buck, Robert Wislow, Ross Glickman, to name a few — on the 12th floor of Roosevelt University's new skyscraper, home to the school's Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate.
"We put 1,500 buildings on 2,500 acres at the western edge of O'Hare International Airport," Bennett said in the video, recalling the beginnings of the Centex Industrial Park in Elk Grove Village. "It was the largest park. ... We had hotels, a restaurant, a day care operation. We had all these various things. It was extremely successful. After the third year, we were making a deal a week."
A 1976 kayaking accident on the Middle Fork of Idaho's Salmon River nearly took his life. When he came out of a coma and learned to walk again, he began aiming his ambitions in a more philanthropic direction.
Bija Bennett said she and Schatz interviewed her father over and over again. There was no question he wouldn't answer, but she struggled to get him to talk more about his feelings than his thoughts. In the video, Bennett summarized his legacy as the prestigious Marshall Bennett Classic, an annual round table of industry leaders, now led by billionaire Sam Zell, and the real estate school at Roosevelt.
"When I started I made a lot of mistakes, and there was no such thing as an MBA. ... Therefore, we felt there should be a very good real estate school," Bennett said. "I went to the University of Chicago, which is my alma mater, and they threw me out. (They said,) 'We don't believe in real estate as an art or as a science. In fact, we're not so sure it's even a legitimate profession.'"
He helped raise $11 million for Roosevelt instead.
"I called it 'The Dad Project,'" Bija Bennett said of the artwork. "Maybe it will inspire others to do it too."
Tribune reporter Jessica Wohl contributed.