A eulogy for the golden era of VC-subsidized meals, which is finally over

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, except in Silicon Valley. Then, lunch is free (or discounted) until the venture-capital money runs out.

For years now, we have been living in a golden era of VC-subsidized meals. As startups piled into the food delivery space, they showered customers with coupons and promotional offers made possible by generous investor financing. Caviar, a food delivery startup headquartered in San Francisco, dished out promo codes that gave users everything from $2 to $10 off their orders. Postmates, another food delivery startup in the Valley, gives $10 in credit to users who refer their friends and puts a code for one delivery at the end of every app update (good for the first 100 customers). UberEats in March celebrated its first birthday in New York with a promotion for free delivery.


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