On-demand food startup Sprig is shutting down today

On-demand food startup Sprig is shutting down today

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Sprig, the startup that makes and delivers its own food, is shutting down today, The Information reports. TechCrunch has since obtained a copy of the email Sprig is sending to customers today.

“It is with a heavy heart that my co-founders and I share that Sprig, Inc. will be shutting down the app today,” Sprig CEO Gagan Biyani wrote in an email customers will receive shortly. “We apologize to those of you who relied on Sprig for daily meals, and to our extended Sprig team for how this will impact them.”

So if you are trying to order food from Sprig today, you’re out of luck because today is Sprig’s last day of operations. This doesn’t strike me as a huge surprise because Sprig has been experimenting with some interesting strategies in the last few months. For example, it opened its kitchen on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco to start serving food to walk-in customers, and also started delivering its food via Caviar. Sprig had also been struggling in Chicago, where it laid off seven people and paused its operations last July.

Sprig’s shutdown will affect around 200 people, including part-time employees, TechCrunch has learned. There will be a severance package, and, at this point, the goal is to help connect now-former Sprig employees with other companies that are hiring.

Sprig, which had raised $56.7 million to cook and deliver its own meals, is not alone in the on-demand food delivery graveyard. It joins the likes of Maple, which shut down earlier this month, SpoonRocket and India’s Ola. Meanwhile, Munchery has been on the struggle bus for a while, so maybe it’s only a matter of time before Munchery joins the crew.

The on-demand food business is tough, especially if you’re trying to handle all elements of the experience, like sourcing the food, cooking the food and delivering it. It’s a lot.

“No question, I’m sad that the Sprig model did not work out — but the food delivery space on the whole is growing,” Biyani wrote. “The demand for Sprig’s convenient, high-quality food was always incredibly high, but the complexity of owning meal production through delivery at scale was a challenge. After spending four years as a food-tech industry insider, I’m amazed at what the space has become. Food is one of the foundations of society and I believe strongly that it must become more sustainable and ethical.”

Here’s the email Sprig is sending to its customers:

Dear friends and customers,

It is with a heavy heart that my co-founders and I share that Sprig, Inc. will be shutting down the app today. We apologize to those of you who relied on Sprig for daily meals, and to our extended Sprig team for how this will impact them.

Food delivery has a bright future, and I’m proud of the work we have done at Sprig that has had a positive impact on the space.

To our employees: thank you. You provided the best customer service in the industry and created innovations that were admired by your peers. You created a daily rotating menu with hundreds of different dishes served, you prepared the most delicious delivery food I’ve ever tasted, you built a 100% self-engineered system that delivered industry-leading transparency and accountability in our ingredient sources and nutritional data, and you created a logistics engine that let us bring food to people hot and ready to eat often in less than 15 minutes. All of our employees, including our servers, kitchen, hub and HQ staff, will receive two months pay as part of the close down. More importantly, we will be hosting career days to help you on your next path. You are armed with experiences that will help accelerate your career and we will be there to help you succeed. (Note: If you are a company that is hiring and interested in talking to our team, please e-mail us at jobs@sprig.com.)

To our customers: you have been our inspiration on this journey. Thank you for the tremendous word-of-mouth growth and feedback you’ve provided us: your messages, phone calls, photos, and reviews made this all worthwhile. We’re proud to have delivered millions of meals to you, and hope you keep demanding the best from the companies that feed you. Four years ago, food delivery was a pain — expensive, hard to find, and poor quality. Today, there are thousands of restaurants delivering amazing food to you; we’re hopeful for the future.

To the press and public: No question, I’m sad that the Sprig model did not work out — but the food delivery space on the whole is growing. The demand for Sprig’s convenient, high-quality food was always incredibly high, but the complexity of owning meal production through delivery at scale was a challenge. After spending four years as a food-tech industry insider, I’m amazed at what the space has become. Food is one of the foundations of society and I believe strongly that it must become more sustainable and ethical. I’m hopeful that the food delivery companies that are succeeding will make this a priority. Please continue to help us inspire change: encourage sustainable food systems, better treatment of workers and more awareness of nutrition. These are serious issues and they cannot have enough attention.

As for me, my primary goal for the coming weeks is to ensure our team members find their next steps. After that, some time for personal reflection, then off to the next venture.

Thank you for everything,
Gagan

I’m in touch with Sprig but the company said to refer to the email for official comments.

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