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Munchery, Sprig: What went wrong with on-demand, artisanal food

After the multi-car pile-up of high end ‘artisinal’ food delivery schemes, our thought inescapably turns to yet another darling of love-struck concrete-jungle Wall Street venture capitalists: energy-hog Hydroponic factory farms plopped down on pricey urban real estate.
Amidst the price depressions of the current painful farm crisis in rural America, do highfalutin, plastic-centric, expensive-to-run artificial production systems like Corporate Hydro face tough sledding and similar financial knockdowns? Caleb, Jim & Megan

“Investors avidly embraced the business concept: gleaming industrial kitchens in cities nationwide where chefs created thousands of gourmet meals to be whisked directly to customers’ doors…

“That was the vision for San Francisco’s Munchery, which abruptly closed last week after raising — and apparently eating up — more than $125 million in venture capital. Munchery, once thought to be worth as much as $300 million, was the latest and biggest on-demand food company to fail. Another industry titan, San Francisco’s Sprig, closed in May 2017 after burning through some $57 million. Other failed tech companies that tried to both prepare and deliver food include Maple, Spoonrocket, Bento and Pronto…

“Did Munchery ever eke out any kind of per-meal profit? The chef laughed.

“‘The numbers just weren’t there; there wasn’t enough margin to make it work,’ he said. “To be honest, it was a house of cards.'”