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“This can’t be real”: Grubhub promotion turns New York City restaurants into a “war zone” | New York

What were they thinking?

That’s what customers, restaurants and courier want to know after a surprise promotion by the food delivery platform Grubhub. And it proved that there really wasn’t anything like a free lunch.

Grubhub’s plans were ambitious. new york Free access to the city and its surrounding tri-state area at lunchtime on Tuesdays. The platform quoted a survey it conducted and found that 69% of working New Yorkers said they skipped lunch.

But that’s exactly what the stunts did after the Grubhub platform crashed when the New Yorker rushed to place an order. The blunder overwhelmed the restaurant, the delivery staff became frustrated, and many customers remained hungry.

Grubhub spokesman Christopher Krautler said the average number of orders for the platform was up to 6,000 per minute, “completely blasting all expectations.” Krautler admitted that this demand “initially caused a temporary delay in the system and some users displayed an error message in the code, but it was fixed immediately” and added a platform. Has processed over 450,000 lunch orders related to the promotion.

However, many users have never seen food after spending money, and some have been hungry for hours waiting due to the app’s promise that food will arrive soon.

The app offered a $ 15 discount on orders placed in New York City between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. The restaurants in the city were flooded. Fee Bakhtiar, general manager of Jajaja Mexicona in West Village, called it a “sit show.” When she opened the restaurant at 11:30 am, she was surprised to find 40 orders from Grubhub already waiting in line.

“Wait, this was something that couldn’t be real. And suddenly it was like,” Well, I think it’s real. ” “

According to Bakhtiar, the takeaway-focused Jajaja West Village was able to fill all Grubhub orders that suddenly disappeared at 2 pm. “But I wish I had raised my head.” She told the Guardian that neither she nor Jajaja’s manager elsewhere in New York received an email or mobile notification from the platform warning that the promotion would take place. He said.

@Grubhub You weren’t communicating with the company. In fact, you didn’t even ask if we wanted to participate in this. Today you threatened our reputation and violated our boundaries. Pay us the money you stole from us today. #dontbuyongrubhub

— Carla Martinez (@kamasil) May 18, 2022

However, many restaurants couldn’t handle it. Megan Benson, a worker at Brooklyn’s fast casual chicken restaurant, said a flood of lunch orders created a shortage that spilled over into dinnertime, turning the kitchen into a “war zone.”

The restaurant was “usually busy from the moment I opened the door and no one told me about this free lunch,” she said. “Usually there are tight ships there, but we couldn’t catch up. We didn’t have time to replenish anything, so half was missing or sold out.”

“The phone didn’t stop ringing because people were calling crazy saying they were missing items or didn’t receive food, so the Grubhub courier had to come back.

“In the end, my colleague was just angry that the phone was constantly pressed against his face. Believe me when I say that the fight has almost happened.”

Towards the end of the shift, the kitchen was only Benson and another colleague. They had a hard time floating.

“It was so much that I had to take orders, so I had to keep reminding myself loudly. When Place an order while my colleague is doing all of Grubhub’s flooded orders. There was no place to put them. “

The delay meant that Benson had to stay all the way through midnight to get rid of it, and she finally got home at 3:30 am. “I hope her overtime pays this week,” she said.

Krautler said Grubhub “advanced all restaurants in the network, including email and multiple forms of communication within the platform. Even if it’s ready, it’s in demand. I couldn’t predict the level. Unfortunately, some restaurants were burdened. “

It wasn’t that good for customers who got out of their pockets with a “free” promotion. Cartoonist Chloe Brailsford, who moved to Brooklyn last year, decided to use Grubhub for the first time after she was isolated from Covid at her home and learned about her promotion from her friends.

When she logged on after 1 pm, she noticed that many of the app’s restaurants were marked “closed.” She initially tried Taco Bell, but received a notification during the order that the restaurant was unavailable.

Then she was able to find Ihop still taking an order with a delivery quote of 45 to 55 minutes. Two attempts were required to process the Belgian Waffle Combo and Hash Brown requests. Even after the discount, it cost $ 22.26 including shipping.

“(The app) said it would arrive between 2: 9 pm and 3: 9 pm, and I was like it was much longer than 45 minutes.”

By 5 pm, Brailsford had no food yet. She saw her estimated time of arrival change at 8 pm. She tried to call Grubhub customer support, but after she was on hold for more than 30 minutes, she gave up and went to the grocery store to buy dinner. A can of progresso soup.

Krautler did not answer the question as to whether customers such as Brailsford would receive a refund.

I tried to get my usual lunch order at Sweet Green today, but it was absolutely crazy. Workers don’t have to suffer this nonsense shame on GrubHub. pic.twitter.com/3uB5j0DQRO

— Mattie Kaiser (@mattie_kaiser) May 18, 2022

For the courier, the promotion was a mixed bag. According to Krautler, Grubhub has increased incentives for workers to support demand, and drivers “earned two to three times their normal income during promotion.”

Two courier told the Guardian that Grubhub was making more money than usual as it spammed the phone and begged it to go online. Another worker, Maurice Jamison, said he raised $ 300 for breakfast, lunch and supper.

However, other workers, including thousands of miles from New York, reported that the app was tense under demand and couldn’t log on at all. A Grubhub worker in California told the Guardian that his app “frozen many times and stopped working altogether” during the New York free lunch promotion. He could only complete three deliveries online in eight hours, which was only $ 28 that day.

As Grubhub’s system surged, we outsourced some orders to third-party delivery platforms, which was also quickly affected. Employees of Relay, a New York City-based distribution platform, told Guardians that shortly after getting a free sandwich as a promotional customer, they noticed that orders for the courier app began to pile up.

A worker who asked not to reveal his identity said he was missing one order assigned to pick it up. The relay app requires workers to contact the support line to report an order issue, but no one came to pick me up after waiting more than 30 minutes.

After unassigning himself from the order, he received another order, but the restaurant had no record in the system. “After waiting 30 minutes for relay help, I didn’t get anything. The app evaluates your performance, and deallocating your own affects your evaluation, so I’m I’m very hesitant to do that. I’ve already been warned.

“I shouldn’t be punished for this,” the worker said. “The relay was never prepared.”

The relay did not respond to the request for comment.

Hildarin Colon Hernandez, policy director for Los Deliverista Unidos, a labor group representing delivery workers in New York City, said yesterday that the Grubhub app popped out and many workers were still holding orders. Said that it could not be delivered.

“Sometimes workers appear in the restaurant and the restaurant isn’t receiving orders from the app,” she said. “It leads to conflict, because the workers are like,” I’m already on time, so I need to get there on time, but the restaurant is already full. ” And when they deliver to the customer, they say, “I’ve been waiting for this for two hours.”

Bralesford, still waiting for a refund for a failed Ihop order, hasn’t blamed the New Yorker’s turmoil. How much money do you have for food? “

But she has a stricter word for Grubhub. She said, “She may have been thinking about this for more than 0.5 seconds, and she may have noticed what terrible thoughts she had.”



“This can’t be real”: Grubhub promotion turns New York City restaurants into a “war zone” | New York

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