SpoonRocket, the on-demand food delivery service, has gone under. The company, which was founded and headquartered in Berkeley, has confirmed via a letter to investors (and blog post) that it has ceased operations as of Tuesday, March 15.
The company produced its own food (rather than delivering from restaurants) and was focused on delivering meals under $10 in ten minutes or less. And though the service had its merits, its approach to food had its detractors, who questioned the sourcing of ingredients and quality of the meals overall. Direct competitors for on-demand meal service like Sprig and Munchery have seen continued growth, alongside operators who offer on-demand delivery from restaurants, like UberEats (who just announced their expanded offerings and new app) and Caviar. (Read a full review of SF's biggest meal delivery apps here.)
While San Francisco's propensity for early adoption has made it an ideal location for many on-demand services to get their start, it's also a saturated market. In the company's goodbye blog post, that competitive market was listed as one of the company's reasons for shutting down:
Our devotion to excellence has even netted us over 1800 Yelp reviews in less than 3 years at over a 4 star rating. However, we continued to face intense competition from competitors like Sprig and an ever tightening funding environment. We explored all strategic options till the very last minute but unfortunately, they all fell through.
After rumors began circulating on Monday about the company's suspected demise, tech blog VentureBeat spoke with SpoonRocket co-founder Anson Tsui who denied reports that the company was closing, and said that it was just "resetting." Hours later, co-founder Steven Hsiao confirmed the closure, saying that the startup had been in acquisition talks with a quick-service restaurant, but that the deal fell through at the last minute.
As of now, the production kitchen is shuttered and all delivery drivers are out of a job. In the meantime, SpoonRocket is encouraging users to head over to Sprig for $10 off of their first order until March 18. It's the first in what could be a larger shake-up in the on-demand world, which ranges from meal delivery (Munchery, Sprig) to restaurants (UberEats, Caviar), valets (Luxe), liquor (Minibar) and growlers of beer (Hopsy), and almost anything (Postmates), just to name a few. Watch out San Francisco— you may eventually be forced to get off the couch to acquire goods and services in the future.