How Grubhub saved its creative team from code

About Grubhub

Based in Chicago, Grubhub connects people with the food they love from their favorite local restaurants. It is the nation's leading online and mobile takeout food-ordering marketplace. Grubhub partners with 75,000 restaurants to serve more than 1,200 U.S. cities and London.The Grubhub portfolio of brands includes Grubhub, Seamless, Eat24, All Menus and Menu Pages.

“We were using [ESP] templates that were very hard to work with. That’s why we decided to turn to stensul, so we could get faster creative turnaround.”

Winnie Lee

B2B Marketing Manager

The Problem

Grubhub was looking to drastically shorten its email creation process. The team was spending too much time in HTML, which diverted efforts away from higher-value projects and stifled the volume of email campaigns they could send. With stensul as a key part of the solution, Grubhub has been able to scale its B2B email marketing program.

The Goals

Decrease email production time

Find a better solution for ESP templates

Get designers out of HTML

"It took us forever to fight with the template."

The pain of creating email the old way.

1) Lengthy creation process
It took much longer than Grubhub wanted to produce an email from start to finish.

This was time-intensive for Aaron, since he was the one receiving the copy, designing the email, getting approval from Winnie, and passing it to developers to code and test.

2) Non-negotiable development time
Several freelance developers were always on standby. They required 2-3 days for each email, but also worked on additional outside projects, making turnaround time unpredictable.

3) Human error in hand coding
The problem with manual work is that mistakes happen. And when they do, “you have to look through all that code and have to find it yourself—that’s the problem,” Aaron says.

4) ESP templates were difficult and time-consuming
Grubhub paid an agency to create new email templates, but these still came with frustrations.

If a new email fit into the mold of an existing template, Winnie would add the copy and an image into the template herself. “But it took us forever—sometimes hours—to fight with the template,” she says.“It was too time-consuming and wasn’t worth it.”

5) The templates restricted creativity
The combination of rigid templates and non-negotiable coding time meant email designs couldn’t be overly complicated if the team wanted to hit deadlines. Even when Aaron went above and beyond with his designs, the finished emails wouldn’t always reflect his vision.

“It was pretty disappointing,” he says.

“We use stensul so that whatever we design actually looks like what we intended it to be.”

Aaron Myers

Associate Art Director

The Results

Creating a full email campaign in less than a day - without touching HTML

1) Shorter creation time + an empowered creative team
Winnie says it’s been great not having to wait for someone to help them code. “The creative team will design something and immediately they can put that template into [the ESP for deployment],” she says.

2) Eliminated coding time (and cut costs)
Grubhub hasn’t tapped its standby developers since implementing stensul. “As long as you have a designer and they understand stensul, that’s all you really need,” Aaron says. “I’m the designer and developer without having to rip my hair out over code.”

3) A better user experience with HTML and the ESP builder
Aaron says he doesn’t have to think about whether or not the HTML might break anymore—plus, all emails are automatically responsive. "I’d have no answers when something went wrong with the code,” he says. ”That doesn’t happen anymore.” Getting emails into Grubhub’s ESP is much easier now as well:“We’ve been having fewer problems with [our ESP builder] since we’ve been using stensul, for sure.”

4) Faster last-minute changes
Whether it’s a design update or swapping one image for another, eliminating the developer bottleneck lets Grubhub address edits and finish emails quicker.

5) More time to build the Grubhub business
“Instead of spending hours going through HTML, I can actually focus on creating more emails and doing other projects,” Winnie says. Winnie and Aaron now have more time to work on multi-touch marketing, review metrics, strategize for upcoming projects, and create more design-oriented emails.

“If a last minute request were to pop up,
I could have it done in an hour.”

Aaron Myers

Associate Art Director

“Giving us time back to focus on bigger things? That’s definitely made things a lot better for us and for our restaurant partners. We can communicate even more strategically,”

Winnie Lee

B2B Marketing Manager

Grubhub Results Recap

Decrease in creation time

Less production time

Less people involved

Saved hours of QA

Go from sloth speed to light speed

Ready to streamline your email creation?