On Feb. 25, SpoonRocket raised the price of its meals from $6 to $8.
The company claims it has improved, serving bigger portions and providing compostable containers, according to SpoonRocket marketing manager Ashley Wong. The company is also donating a portion of its profits to children in need.
“It is only a reflection of what our customers have been telling us to improve on: portion size, compostable containers, high quality ingredients,” says Wong. “You can’t have everything and still only pay $6.”
SpoonRocket is a food delivery business founded by two UC Berkeley alumni, Anson Tsui and Steven Hsiao. The startup launched last summer and now delivers across the East Bay, including Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville and the south of Market neighborhood in San Francisco. According to Wong, SpoonRocket currently delivers thousands of meals each day. The menu changes daily, and there are always two options, one of which is vegetarian. For example, on Feb. 26, users had the option of Thai chicken curry or lentil and winter squash soft tacos. Delivery typically takes 10 minutes.
The news of the price increase received immediate backlash from customers, many of whom are Berkeley students.
Freshman Steve Han says he used to order from SpoonRocket, but the new price and the reduced delivery hours are deal breakers. “SpoonRocket maintained a good balance between price, nutrition and speediness,” he said. “I also liked the fact that they delivered late.”
Others are concerned that simply getting more food doesn’t make it a good deal.
“The quality of the food seems to have declined as the portion size has increased,” said one Yelp user after the change.
Eight dollars may not sound like much, but a bit of simple math shows us that it’s a 33 percent price increase. Not to mention, we’ll have to shell out a few extra dollars for tax and tip, bringing the total to about $10 or $11. So not cool! We loved SpoonRocket for two reasons: convenience and cheapness. We estimate Cal students typically pay $8 (or less) for a meal on or near campus. What we’re really paying SpoonRocket for now is convenience.
Most people seem to agree with us, if the reactions on the Internet are anything to go by. As one Reddit user puts it, “At that price, anywhere in Asian Ghetto is better.” Yelp users also rushed to update their reviews and lower the star-ratings they gave. “Three to four weeks ago, I would have given SpoonRocket a solid four stars,” wrote a reviewer who gave the service one star.
Is convenience more important than value? Maybe, maybe not. As college students, SpoonRocket is a tempting and easy alternative to even the nearest restaurants (especially when we’re holed up in our rooms cramming for midterms). We’ll see if SpoonRocket remains our go-to delivery service in the long run.