HelloFresh is making massive layoffs and closing the Bay Area warehouse

HelloFresh, a Berlin-based company once considered the country’s largest meal kit supplier, has announced plans to close its massive Bay Area production plant at the end of the year and will subsequently lay off more than 600 staff. employees.

A letter to the California Department of Employment Development, dated October 10, relayed the company’s decision to permanently close the plant on December 11, which will result in the layoff of 611 employees, including associates from production, managers and maintenance personnel, according to reports from the San Francisco Business Times and MarketWatch. HelloFresh was required to notify its staff 60 days prior to the closure pursuant to California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) law.

A HelloFresh spokesperson did not immediately respond to SFGATE’s request for comment. However, a representative told the San Francisco Business Times that the company’s lease was set to expire in early 2023 and opted not to extend it after a “thorough analysis” of its production network.

“Richmond is one of the oldest buildings in the US grid and has one of the smallest footprints, an inefficient layout, and outdated refrigeration systems,” the statement said. “Given the outdated state of the facility, HelloFresh will focus its efforts on its newer, more efficient locations and shift production from EveryPlate to our other distribution centers.”

The 109,594 square foot warehouse at 2041 Factory Street in Richmond is currently for rent on PropertyShark. It was built in 2001 and leased by the company in 2015.

HelloFresh’s 109,594 square foot warehouse at 2041 Factory Street in Richmond.

Google Street View

“The decision not to extend the lease does not reflect the performance of the local teams, and we are grateful for their contributions,” a HelloFresh spokesperson told the Richmond Standard.

In 2020, HelloFresh reported a 68.9% increase in active customers, but kitchen workers at the East Bay factory tried to form a union the following year amid growing demand for food. company exacerbated by the pandemic, alleging it led to unsafe working conditions. Low wages, allegedly high injury rates and a major COVID outbreak at the plant that resulted in the death of an employee were among the concerns highlighted by staff.

Despite being the first union in the meal kit industry, HelloFresh workers ultimately voted against joining UNITE HERE. Some employees claimed their attempts to unionize had prompted company retaliation, and the Guardian reported that HelloFresh was spending thousands of dollars a day bringing in union-busting consultants during the campaign. (A HelloFresh spokesperson said at the time that it “believes that the decision whether or not to be represented by a union is important and we respect the right of every employee to choose or refuse union membership. union”.)

This year, demand for the company has seen a sharp decline, with market share plummeting by more than 68%, as Business Insider reported. He was worth nearly $20 billion as of August 2021.

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