Your options for food delivery tonight just got a little bit slimmer. Munchery, one of the many on-demand food delivery services offering quick and easy re-heatable meals to folks who would prefer to use a microwave rather than a stove, has ceased operations in Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. As a result, employees in those three markets are also being let go — the 257 affected individuals represent about 30 percent of company’s workforce.
In an announcement on the company’s blog, Munchery CEO James Beriker wrote, “This was a hard decision — and not one we made lightly. We recognize the impact this will have on the members of our team in those regions … I truly wish that the outcome would have been different.”
Initially founded as a service that would deliver fresh, ready-to-heat meals to customers, Munchery more recently began offering recipes and ingredients to serve more as a meal kit. But occupying a space somewhere between Blue Apron and Grubhub is no easy task, especially as other on-demand food services like Amazon and Uber Eats gained ground. Indeed, the last few years have not been the brightest for Munchery — reports suggested that the company ultimately wasted around 16 percent of its total food production, and had quickly worked its way through most of the funds it raised.
But hopefully, by shuttering operations in three major markets, Munchery can focus on getting things right this time around. “This change is hard, but moving forward, our San Francisco team will focus on growing our business in San Francisco, our first and largest market, developing our shipping capabilities so that we can more efficiently serve other regions, and continuing to focus on evolving our technology platform,” Beriker noted. “This reduction in scope will allow us to focus on continuing to execute on Munchery’s vision, achieve profitability on the near term, and build a long-term, sustainable business.”
Munchery is by no means the only company struggling in the food delivery industry. Just last year, food delivery startup Sprig shuttered despite receiving hefty venture capital investments. And even more established players like Postmates have recently been forced to lay off workers.
“I am saddened by this development, but I am also incredibly hopeful and excited by what we can accomplish in this next phase,” Beriker concluded. “I fundamentally believe in the opportunity that exists in food ecommerce, fresh food production, and home delivery — and in our position as a leading innovator in this market.”