Why People Are Raging Over Grubhub's Failed Free Lunch Offer

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch, and for New Yorkers, that statement has never felt more true. Per Yahoo Finance, Grubhub announced they would be offering lunch, free of charge, on May 17th for those living in the Big Apple. Grubhub shared that this promotion is in response to a survey they conducted which revealed that 69% of New Yorkers don't eat lunch because they are "too busy."

Ariella Kurshan, Grubhub Senior Vice President, Growth, said in a Grubhub press release "As the city's premier food delivery service, this is just one small step in our larger mission to connect local restaurants with hungry diners. Because being busy never has to get in the way of enjoying lunch." The announcement went on to share that between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET — prime lunch eating time — New Yorkers simply needed to fire up their Grubhub app and use the code "FREELUNCH" at checkout for up to $15 off their order subtotal. Sounds like a nice promotion, right? If you live in Manhattan, you might even have decided to use this as an opportunity to save money on a meal splurge, similar to Anna Wintour's preferred lunch that has people in a tizzy. But, unfortunately, Grubhub learned another cliche phrase, today, as a result of its efforts — no good deed goes unpunished. 

Grubhub's app couldn't handle the volume

According to Downdetector, the app had so many users during the starting time of the lunch promo time that it apparently crashed and the promotion burned or roasted, depending on how you look at it. The best food delivery service on our 2022 list tried to smooth the mishap over on Twitter, writing "New Yorkers went as hard for free lunch as the Rangers did in game 7. Our restaurants and drivers are still working hard fulfilling your orders. Make sure to show them love today (and every day)."

But restaurant workers weren't feeling the love and shared their frustrations on the social media platform with one tweeting to Grubhub "Currently working front of house at a restaurant in Brooklyn and you guys big time messed up. we have over 30 cold orders not being picked up by drivers and our phones are off the hook with angry customers." The worker then went on to say how Grubhub's failed promo hurt New York restaurants, although with a more colorful choice of words.

Those on the receiving end of this gift also saw some sardonic humor in the situation with one writing, "Crying @ how half the restaurants on Grubhub are now "closed" until 2:15 (after the promo code ends). Never change, New York." While another sage member of the Twitterverse mused, "Can't stop thinking about Grubhub giving 8 million people free lunch within a three-hour window and expecting it to go smoothly." Truth.