Yet another Silicon Valley-backed meal delivery service has gone the way of the dodo: After nine years in business and number of radical concept changes, Munchery is no more.
In an email to customers yesterday, the meal delivery company announced that it was ceasing operations immediately. Last May, Munchery laid off around 250 of its workers — approximately 30 percent of its workforce at the time — and folded its operations in Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle, leaving San Francisco as the only city where it offered meal delivery. Since 2010, the company raised $125 million in funding from a number of big venture capital firms including Cota Capital, Greycroft, ACME Ventures, and Menlo Ventures. The company reached a valuation of $300 million back in 2015.
Originally launching as a meal delivery service, Munchery also tested out recipe kits, as well as $9 per month subscription deals. At one point, the company even experimented with a pop-up in a San Francisco BART station with grab-and-go dishes geared at commuters. The original plan was to offer guests multiple menu options from different chefs, but Munchery eventually pared operations down to one menu. “It really didn’t become scalable,” the company’s culinary head Robert Cubberly told Eater back in 2016. “We broke the kitchen down into hot line stations, cold line stations, plating stations, to get more efficiencies… [We operate as] one big restaurant kitchen instead of five little restaurant kitchens.”
Munchery is the latest in a long line of food delivery start-ups that didn’t pan out, despite promising kitchen talent and big-name backers. Within the last few years, similar prepared meal services Sprig, Maple, Spoonrocket, and Bento all folded, while meal kit companies Din and Chef’d have met similar fates. On a brighter note, a few of the big players in the recipe kit game, including Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, are managing to stay afloat thanks, in part, to new deals with grocery stores.
• After Raising $125m, Munchery Fails to Deliver [Tech Crunch]
• How One Delivery-Only Service Makes Dinner Without a Restaurant [E]
• SF Food Startup Munchery Shuts Down LA, Seattle, and NYC Operations [ESF]
• Why Meal Kits Are Going Offline [E]