MealPal brings subscription savings to lunch
MealPal, a subscription service that promises more than 40 percent off lunch for consumers, continues to gain traction. The service launched this month in Seattle, its fourteenth city.
Largely aimed at urban office workers, MealPal offers two subscription tiers: a 20-day package per month for $5.59 per meal or a 12-day package per month for $5.99 per meal. MealPal said that compares to prices ranging from $10 to $15 when ordered off the menus of participating local restaurants, such as Din Tai Fung, Evergreens Salad, Pike Place Chowder, Pokeworks, 206 Burgers, Pasta Casalinga and Kigo Kitchen.
The restaurants offer one meal per day. Customers submit their order through the MealPal app the night before or by 9:30 a.m., set a pickup time and fetch their meal without waiting in line.
For restaurants, MealPal brings new customers, but they also benefit from receiving orders well in advance and the labor savings stemming from preparing bulk orders. Likening it to the catering model, MealPal says making one meal multiple times is much quicker than making a variety of individual meals.
“The biggest expense for them is labor costs, but because they are making only one meal per day for MealPal they are able to make it much more efficient,” Mary Biggins, MealPal’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch last year.
Consumers earn significant savings, avoid long lines at their pick-up spot, and get to continually try different meals from a variety of places.
One drawback is that orders must be picked up. A number of on-demand services support delivery, albeit generally at menu prices plus delivery fees. MealPal believes the meal savings and a desire to take a break from work encourage many to use the service.
The meals are only available on weekdays (not including holidays) and customers lose meals if their allotment (12 or 20 meals) for that month isn’t used. Some slightly pricier rollover options are available. The one-meal per restaurant limits options, but MealPal has attracted a number of establishments, including more than 150 in its Seattle launch.
MealPal said it has served more than eight million meals since its launch in 2016 and reached several other major cities including New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney, Paris and Toronto.
- MealPal Takes A Bite Out Of Seattle’s Lunch Scene With Affordable, Time Saving Service – MealPal
- MealPal Raises $20M Series B and Launches Dinner Service – MealPal
- MealPal takes on Uber, Amazon, Peach with new $6 lunch pickup service in Seattle – GeekWire
- MealPal gobbles $20M for its restaurant meal subscription service – TechCrunch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How likely is the MealPal lunch subscription service to succeed in the U.S.? What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for the service and participating restaurants?