NYC restaurants yawn at Grubhub’s citywide ‘free lunch’ promotion

Grubhub is offering to pick up the tab for lunch across New York City next week — and restaurants are yawning.

The barrage of freebies from food delivery companies — including rivals UberEats and Doordash, as well as grocery apps like Getir, Gopuff and Gorillas that deliver items within minutes — is reaching new heights, experts say.

“There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t get a promotion from one of these delivery companies,” said restaurant owner Andrew Schnipper who owns burger chain, Schnipper’s. “They are all beating the hell out of each other to win business.”

The latest from Grubhub is a promotion promising a free lunch to anyone who wants one on May 17.

Diners won’t be able to spend more than $15 for the meal and they will still be on the hook for other surcharges, like tax and tip. If the order exceeds $15, the customer gets a $15 discount.

But restaurant owners who were alerted about the promotion by Grubhub this week are not expecting it to overwhelm their eateries because food delivery discounts have become increasingly common.

Fresh & Co. chief executive, George Tenedios, is among them. The quick service breakfast and lunch chain is not expecting to get “a big boost” from the promotion.

“If someone has forgotten about us over the past two years, the promotion might remind them,” Tenedios added.

Schnipper said “I presume we’ll be busier on May 17,” but he wasn’t planning to staff up or purchase more food, he said.

Just last week, Schnipper said Grubhub sent his daughter an offer for $20 off an order of $25 or more.

“We’ve executed similar programs of scale in the past,” Grubhub spokesperson Christopher Krautler admitted in an email to The Post. “We’re excited to launch this initiative and deliver free lunch to thousands of New Yorkers while reminding them about the importance of taking a lunch break,” he added.

Grubhub is tying the promotion to the fact that more New Yorkers are returning to their offices, but has extended it to the five boroughs as well as surrounding areas in New York and New Jersey. That includes most counties in the Garden State, Long Island, and parts of Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday, customers can log in to the app between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and submit their order using the promo code “FREELUNCH.”

Grubhub has struggled since the lifting of pandemic-era lockdown measures as diners have resumed eating at restaurants.

The app has been steadily losing market share to competitors including Doordash, which is now the largest delivery service in New York City.

Fresh & Co., for one, has convinced more customers to order directly from its website largely at the expense of Grubhub, Tenedios said. Before the pandemic about 60% of the chain’s take-out orders were generated by third party app companies — and primarily from Grubhub. But now that number has shrunk to 40%, Tenedios said, with his chain generating 60% of the orders directly.

Grubhub – along with the entire delivery sector – is also under regulatory pressure in a number of large cities that are introducing legislation to curb the fees it charges restaurants.

Last year, Grubhub was acquired by European conglomerate Just Eat Last month, the company said it was exploring a partial or full sale of Grubhub.


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