The offer of free lunch to anyone in the New York City metro area led to chaos. Many were unable to access the promotional deal, which was scheduled to run from 11 am to 2 pm this afternoon, when both the website and app crashed. A large number of restaurants were overwhelmed with orders from hungry customers and had to stop taking new orders or close for the day. Although the offer of free lunch was only a deep discount, it turned out that few people would turn it down. A number of customers still complained about delayed or canceled orders after access to the website and app was restored.

Why did @Grubhub offer free delivery in NYC & then the restaurants all turned off their delivery 😭😭😭😭 like whattt #grubhub #nyc

— the Next Oprah ✨ (@iampreciousnkem) May 17, 2022

The initial demand temporarily overwhelmed our app, causing some diners to experience an error message when they used their promo code. We were able to fulfill more than 400,000 lunch orders thanks to our restaurant and driver partners.

Workers and restaurant owners had more problems than just going hungry. Several people who work for the delivery company, as well as restaurant owners and workers, spoke to the website about their day filled with non-stop orders. Many workers and restaurants told outlets that they didn't know about the promo.

.@Grubhub not giving restaurants a heads up to be prepared for the surge in demand is gross. The restaurant called me super apologetic saying that they’re essentially out of food because they had no clue this was happening.

— Ashley. (@arneespeaks) May 17, 2022

The worker from Greenberg's Bagels said that they were slammed by it all day.

It was denied that restaurants were not informed of the promo prior to it. As with any promotions, we notify our entire restaurant network in advance via multiple points of communication.

Many restaurants were unprepared for the onslaught of orders and the extra strain on staff and food supply that such an offer incurred, despite the advance warning.

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. absolutely fucking over the entire NYC service industry today

— renny (@rennyconti) May 17, 2022