Grubhub’s attempts to drum up buzz for its food-delivery service by offering “free” lunch in New York didn’t exactly generate the kind of publicity the company was hoping for.
On Tuesday, the company offered New Yorkers a “free” lunch, excluding tips and fees, up to the value of $15 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The promotion was shared on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok and should have been a boon for the city’s restaurants, customers, and couriers.
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Instead, a surge in orders resulted in delayed—or absent—deliveries as the rapid swell in demand left eateries overwhelmed and delivery workers in short supply. At the lunchtime peak, Grubhub was averaging 6,000 orders a minute, spokesman David Tovar said. By 11:25 a.m. there were more than 1,000 reports of issues with its app, according to Downdetector.
“Hangry” customers took to Twitter to complain of orders that arrived late or not at all.