Munchery, a food delivery service that had raised $125 million in venture capital, announced to its customers via email yesterday that it was ceasing operations. TechCrunch was first to report the news.
The move isn’t terribly surprising as Munchery had done a number of pivots as a company, from having in-house chefs create on-demand meals (and doing its own delivery), to meal kits, to opening up a brick and mortar location. Additionally, the company went through a number of travails including replacing its CEO; shuttering service in Seattle, New York, and LA; and laying off 30 percent of its staff last May. In October of last year, Kettlebell Kitchen took over meal delivery to Munchery’s former East Coast customers.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Munchery kitchens wound up producing more food than they sold, resulting in a massive amount of food waste.
Despite its many iterations, the throughline seemed to be that Munchery was trying to build something from the ground up by doing it all, and thus faced big competition wherever it went. If you’re making your own meals to sell, you’re going up against brand name restaurants that deliver that people already know and trust. On-demand delivery is already dominated by the likes of DoorDash and Uber Eats, which have their own marketplaces. And any forays into meal kits meant going up against established services like Blue Apron and HelloFresh (as well as a changing meal kit market migrating towards retail).
In the end, Munchery’s closing probably isn’t much of a harbinger for the food delivery sector at large. Munchery wound up trying to be so many different things in so many crowded markets that it could never become a thing that gained any traction.