Grubhub’s free lunch to anyone in the New York metro area led to absolute chaos today. Many were unable to access the promotional offer – which was scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET this afternoon – when the website and app began to crash, according to many frustrated users. Many restaurants have been overwhelmed with orders from hungry customers, prompting them to suspend taking new orders or “shut down” for the day. Although Grubhub’s “free lunch” promotion was actually just a deep discount (the offer was good for $15 and customers were responsible for additional taxes, tips, and delivery charges), it turned out turns out that few people will turn down the offer of a cheap meal, especially at one of the more . Although access to the website and app was eventually restored, a number of customers still complained about delayed or canceled orders.
At its peak, Grubhub said its platform received 6,000 orders per minute. “Initial demand temporarily overwhelmed our app, causing some customers to receive an error message when redeeming their promo code. However, this was quickly rectified and, together with our restaurant and driver partners, we have was able to successfully fulfill more than 400,000 lunch orders related to the promotion,” a Grubhub spokesperson told Engadget.
But workers and restaurateurs faced worse problems than just going hungry on their lunch breaks. News Feed to several delivery people, restaurants and Grubhub employees, all of whom recounted a painful and stressful day filled with non-stop orders. Many workers and restaurants told various outlets that they were not informed of the promotion in advance.
“We really took some criticism today,” said Ching, an employee of Greenberg’s Bagels. News Feed. “It was just non-stop all day.”
Grubhub has denied claims that it did not notify restaurants of the promotion in advance. “Grubhub isn’t just a delivery logistics app, we’re a marketplace for restaurants. And like we do with all promotions, we notify our entire network of restaurants in advance through multiple outlets. communication,” a Grubhub spokesperson told Engadget in a statement.
Despite the advance warning, it’s clear that many restaurants were unprepared for the barrage of orders and the added strain on staff and food supply that such an offer would incur.