EMSEats ambulance meal delivery service flops after rash of disappearing meals
The CAD-integrated application assured rapid meal delivery to 911 callers and promised increased revenue for underutilized ambulances
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SILICON VALLEY, Calif. — EMSEats, a venture capital-backed meal delivery service, promised to combine the public's universal knowledge of 911 and the need for EMS agencies to increase revenue by maximizing unit hour utilization.
But the start-up, which rose out of a 24-hour hackathon with off-the-chart expectations, has flopped faster than a box of fries can get soggy due to a rash of disappearing meals.
The failure has been a huge disappointment to Thomas Sanders-Kroc, 19, who devised the EMSEats application to integrate with computer aided dispatch systems.
"Anyone can call 911, state their order and expect arrival of a deep dish pizza, Kung Pao chicken or a six-foot party sub to arrive within four to six minutes."
Initially, the service rolled out without a hitch.
"Our EMS partners made record-setting responses to participating restaurants after a 911 order was placed," Sanders-Kroc said in a shareholder report. "But 98 percent of orders went undelivered, resulting in an overall one-star Yelp rating. The customers who received orders frequently reported part of their meal, especially caffeinated sodas and easy to eat foods like corn dogs and churros, were missing."
Many online reviews were similar to an elderly customer who ordered a triple bacon cheeseburger with onion rings and 48-oz. cola. The EMSEats delivery driver dropped a crumpled bag at her doorstep and hurried away to his next call.
"All that was left was a slice of cheese adhered to the bottom of a sesame seed bun, Clara Peller wrote, "Where's the beef!"