The fight to become New York City’s preeminent delivery service is getting extremely heated as competitors get increasingly aggressive with their tactics and promotions. Yesterday, Grubhub — a company with no affiliation to Grub Street, tysm — attempted to generate some much-needed goodwill by offering free lunch to anyone ordering food between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., using the ominous promo code “freelunch.” (There is no such thing, as the famous adage teaches us.)
A countdown launched Monday to advertise the promotion, and the internet thundered with excitement, but some people saw the storm brewing.
You already know how this turned out. Marketwatch reports that at one point, Grubhub was fielding 6,000 orders per minute, with one worker telling Buzzfeed her afternoon was “INSANITY.” (Caps theirs.)
Let’s pause to think about the restaurant workers, who simply went to work on a Tuesday and had no way to benefit from this promotion. (When Grub Street stopped by a poke shop to buy lunch during the promotion, the woman at the counter said she had to close the restaurant completely just to avoid incoming Grubhub orders.)
Anyone who has ever used a computer, a phone, or the internet knows bad stuff tends to happen when thousands of people try to do the same thing at the same time. Grubhub has apparently never tried to buy concert tickets online; otherwise, it might have anticipated the problems.
The promotion, which was ostensibly designed to help bolster support for Grubhub, instead turned the service into the next Fyre Festival.
Smart users understood that maybe this promotion was a sign it’s time to move on from the delivery service completely.
But all is not bad. It looks as though at least one person did receive their lunch, even tweeting a picture. Although that photograph looks extremely familiar???
If you were among the lucky few to secure a “free” lunch, Grub Street — which, again, is not Grubhub — hopes you took the opportunity to tip your delivery person very well. Yesterday was, it seems, yet another reminder that decision-makers at an app company can totally ruin an otherwise beautiful day.