Facts About Grubhub’s ‘Free Lunch’ in New York
Grubhub offer ‘Free Lunch’ for New Yorkers

Grubhub: Not Tottaly Free

The popular food-delivery service ran a "Free Lunch" promotion on Tuesday, exclusively for users in New York City.

The delivery app Grubhub announced last week that it would be providing New Yorkers with “free lunch” between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Grubhub’s free lunch offer comes at a time when food delivery apps are competing while food inflation has hit some American families hard.

Of course, that promotion came with some terms — like that lunch isn’t really “free” but discounted by $15 with the promo code “FREELUNCH,” or that “users will remain responsible for any applicable tax, fees, and optional tip.” And of course, because few things are more alluring than the prospect of free food, especially amid rising food prices and food insecurity nationwide, Grubhub seems to have underestimated the popularity of said promotion.

A spokesperson for Grubhub told that the free lunch promotion will be available in all five boroughs of NYC. Some counties in Long Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, will be participating in the promotion as well.

Grubhub is an American food ordering and delivery platform that connects customers with local restaurants. The company is owned by Just Eat Takeaway, a Dutch multinational online food delivery business

Grubhub App & Site Began Crashing

Facts About Grubhub’s ‘Free Lunch’ and App Crashes in New York
Grubhub's ‘Free Lunch for NYC’ offer on May 17, 2022, will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST through the Grubhub app. Customers will need to enter the promo code 'FREELUNCH' to take $15 off their order. (Grubhub)

Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the tantalizing offer did not appear to go smoothly for many.

The Grubhub app and website both began crashing and glitching minutes into the promotion, with problems including rejected payments and error message prompts, as Twitter users quickly pointed out. Some tweets indicated that these difficulties began almost instantly.

Several users reported that fewer restaurants than usual were available on the platform as restaurants closed orders, presumably due to overwhelming spikes in demand. While some restaurant owners received notice of the promotion, as the New York Post reported, that might not have been the case across the board. At other restaurants, orders were piling up as they awaited a courier.

As reports of technical issues began to subside, users began reporting other issues seemingly instigated by the promotions. Some who chose to pick up their orders or were just visiting a restaurant while the event was underway reported massive crowds waiting for orders. Others reported waiting over an hour to get their food and being placed behind 2,500 other users in a customer service queue.

The official GrubHub Twitter account appeared to respond to the widespread issues, saying, "y'all were hungry, huh? hang tight - we're on it."

"On a real note, our restaurants and drivers are busier than EVER cooking and delivering your food," the company wrote in a later tweet around 12:20 p.m. "We appreciate your patience as we work to make this right."

Still, Grubhub has proven one thing true: “Free lunch” will always be a siren song, even if it’s not actually free. For everyone still waiting on their lunch orders, well, let’s hope you’re tipping well — and preferably in cash. Patience is a virtue on most days, but especially on this one.

Another quieter issue that some noticed was the fact that numerous restaurants in New York City appeared to turn off delivery as an option during the promotion, effectively opting out of the massive influx of customers.
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