Where’s that delivery guy? GrubHub intros meal tracking

Chicago’s GrubHub already lets you order meals for delivery from 17,000 restaurants in the U.S. Now it’s letting you track your meals as they meander through your city’s streets to your home – at least in Chicago and New York City.

On Tuesday, GrubHub introduced the “Track Your Grub” feature for its web portal and Android(s goog) and iOS(s aapl) apps, giving diners more insight into where their orders are in the preparation and delivery process. Customers can sign up for SMS alerts, notifying them when their food is ready for pick-up or has left the restaurant and is on route. Track Your Grub alerts will also notify customers of updated delivery or order pick-up times.

Restaurants in only six cities are participating in the initial SMS notification beta launch, but in two cities, New York and Chicago, customers will also get access to a bonus feature: real-time tracking of their delivery orders through a mapping interface in their mobile apps. So you’ll know if your delivery driver is dawdling at the arcade while your moo shoo pork is getting cold. GrubHub is rolling out both the SMS alert and mapping features across its 400-city footprint this year and in 2013.

Track Your Grub is actually a side benefit of two efforts GrubHub has made to streamline the order provisioning, tracking and delivery process for its restaurant partners. This year it rolled out two technologies: OrderHub, an app for restaurants to manage their GrubHub orders, and DeliveryHub, an app for drivers that tracks their scheduled deliveries and helps them find the most efficient pick-up and delivery routes. By integrating the two platforms, GrubHub was able to develop a public-facing interface that shares that information with consumers.

“We’ve always focused on introducing technology that meets the needs of both our restaurants and diners,” GrubHub co-founder and CEO Matt Maloney said in a statement. “Track Your Grub empowers our diners with the knowledge of exactly where their food is in the takeout process while giving our restaurants tools to make their operations more efficient.”