Pearl Express

Pearl Express owners posing in their kitchen

Pearl Express grew Grubhub sales by 195% with Grubhub Direct

Pearl Express is a family-owned and operated Chinese restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah, with dishes ranging from traditional to modern.

Jared Tran grew up in the restaurant industry. The Tran family has owned a series of restaurants over the lifetime of Jared’s parents — some even with extended family members. 

In 2007, Jared’s parents opened Pearl Express, which is the first restaurant that his father owned solely. While both of his parents pour their energy into their menu that balances traditional Chinese dishes with American Chinese classics, Jared spends his time modernizing his family’s online ordering strategy. 

“My parents are first-generation Americans,” says Jared, who is passionate about helping his family succeed. “They aren’t as familiar with technology and websites as I am, so I help bring in these new digital tools into my family’s business.” 

Building a digital-forward restaurant

Like other restaurants, Pearl Express faced a need to transform its business model due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The family restaurant transitioned to takeout only at the start of the pandemic. 

“We were doing okay because we had a loyal customer base who still supported us by calling in orders over the phone for pickup,” Jared says. 

But by Spring 2021, Pearl Express experienced a noticeable dip in business. Jared began to look for other ways to drive orders and revenue. 

He was introduced to Grubhub Direct in October 2021 and immediately saw the potential opportunity. “I figured I would use Grubhub Direct as an online ordering system, and hopefully our business would see more orders come in.” 

Setup was easy, Jared notes. “It was just a simple click, and my Grubhub Marketplace menu was copied over to my Grubhub Direct site.”

Before Grubhub Direct, the Trans managed their takeout business on paper — which Jared knew came with limitations. After Grubhub Direct, Jared had access to an insights dashboard, which became a game-changer. “I can track trends and understand which items are selling the best for my customers,” he explains.

Reaching new customers and surpassing pre-pandemic sales with Grubhub Direct

Grubhub Direct effectively opened doors for reaching more customers online. Now, Jared has an online ordering site he can promote through various outside channels such as Google Business and on Pearl Express’s restaurant website, enabling Pearl Express to reach new customers and build a loyal online ordering fan base.  

“We’re seeing an uptick in new customers who have never ordered from us ordering from our Grubhub Direct site,” says Jared.

In addition to new customers finding Pearl Express’ online ordering site organically, Jared has also found that the Promotions and Loyalty tools available through Grubhub Direct have helped increase sales, especially with first-time customers. . “We have a first-time discount we offer on our Grubhub Direct site,” he explains. 

in addition, Pearl Express has officially surpassed its pre-pandemic sales.


Felippa Janik from Janik's Cafe

In December 2021 we had surpassed our pre-pandemic sales, making it the biggest December for us yet.

Jared Tran, Pearl Express

Pearl Express is adapting to serve its customers

This pandemic has really shaken up the restaurant industry,” says Jared. “It’s not just us, it’s everyone, and whether you’re a family-owned restaurant or a chain, you’ve seen drastic changes in consumer preferences.”

The Tran family plans to double down on delivery and online ordering to continue to adapt to these changes. “I believe we’re going to continue to see more and more people choose to go the delivery route for food,” Jared says. “It’s important you have more options and channels so people are comfortable ordering from you.” 


Increase in Grubhub Sales 


new customers 

Jared trusts Grubhub to help make that happen for Pearl Express. “Grubhub is making it easier for restaurants. It’s a one-stop-shop. You can get delivery, your own custom online ordering site and access to their customers.” 

The best part? As Jared says, it’s easy. “It’s very easy to train your staff to take care of these customers coming through these different channels. It pops up on your tablet and cuts down the time that employees would have spent answering phone calls for those orders.”