After eight years of shape-shifting in the home meal delivery business, Munchery ceased operations in San Francisco, its final market. Founded in 2010, Munchery tried to establish and hold a viable business model. In May 2018, Munchery retreated from all markets except San Francisco, but now that’s also closed.
The first notice of Munchery’s end came last Monday, when the perennial startup sent an email to its customers, according to Tech Crunch.
“Since 2010, we have been committed to bringing fresh, local, and delicious meals into your homes along with all our customers across the country,” Tech Crunch quoted from the Munchery e-mail announcement. “We’ve been delighted to work with world-renowned chefs, experiment with diverse and unique ingredients and recipes, and be a part of your holiday feasts and traditions. We have also enjoyed giving back to our community through meal donations, volunteer service, and so much more.”
Since its beginning in 2010, Munchery raised $125 million in venture capital funding, and at one time was valued at $300 million.
Munchery began with a plan to deliver fresh, ready-to-heat meals to customers at home. In 2015 Munchery teamed with Google Play Music. For a short time that year, Munchery’s chefs prepared meals based on Google Play Music radio stations with playlists for various moods, times of the day, and activities. The idea was that while you were eating you could listen to music popular in your city. The joint trial ran in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Later on, the service morphed to the meal kit business, delivering ingredients and recipes that customers would prepare themselves, similar to Blue Apron.
Last year in May, Munchery announced to customers via email it was closing its Seattle and New York operations to focus on its first market, Los Angeles, and its then-largest business in San Francisco. Los Angeles was the next to be shuttered as Munchery struggled to find a business model that stuck.
Attempting to build a business with commuters returning home after work, Munchery opened a shop inside a San Francisco BART station, but that didn’t stop the company’s inevitable demise.
In later reporting, this week Tech Crunch quoted vendors who claimed that while Munchery may have let customers know it was halting operations, the company did not inform food vendors of the closure. Several cited unpaid bills for thousands of dollars worth of food deliveries.
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