Even a celebrity chef couldn’t save this gourmet food delivery service
The harsh economics of the food delivery business just claimed another victim.
Maple, the gourmet delivery service backed by celebrity chef David Chang, told customers it’s shutting down on Monday after two years of operation in New York.
Co-founders Caleb Merkl and Akshay Navle said the decision was reached “after several months thinking about the future of our business.”
“The most compelling next step in Maple’s story involved a shift from our current approach,” they wrote in a note posted to the site.
That “shift” will send much of the company’s top staff across the pond to join London delivery startup Deliveroo. Meanwhile, the Maple brand will cease to exist.
The high-end startup opened its doors in 2015 with backing from chefs like Chang, the man behind the wildly successful Momofuku restaurants.
Maple had a fixed lunch and dinner menu of meals that on-demand couriers would deliver around the city.
But throughout its first year, the company lost money on each meal on average, according to investor documents leaked to Recode. While the it managed to eke out a 30-cent-per-meal profit by March of 2016, operating losses for the year were still pegged at around $16 million.
Maple is only the latest of its ilk to fall behind the punishing margins of the food delivery business model. Small startups like Spoonrocket, Din, and Bento have all closed their doors in recent months as competition in the space remains fierce.
Even bigger names like Postmates and DoorDash have struggled stay afloat with recent funding rounds that failed to inflate their valuations.