Business development / Food and drink / Startups

This startup is expanding to DC to make your lunchtimes easier

Meet MealPal (formerly MealPass) — the subscription service for your office lunch.

What's for lunch? (Photo courtesy of MealPal)

What’s for lunch? If you’re anything like us, you tend to start worrying about this pretty early in the day. This startup wants to relieve that stress, along with a few other benefits.

The MealPal app. (Courtesy photo)

The MealPal app. (Courtesy photo)

Miami-born MealPal (formerly MealPass) announced on Monday that it is launching in two new cities — Chicago and D.C. These represent the fifth and sixth city, respectively, for this eight-month-old company (it also operates in New York, San Francisco and Boston).
MealPal is a lunch subscription service — for $119 per month (though enthusiasts can snag a $99 intro deal this week), subscribers can pick a meal from a participating restaurant near their office and place the order online so as to avoid having to wait in long lunch-hour lines.
Each participating restaurant puts one dish per day on MealPal, but these fluctuate. At launch in D.C., MealPal is partnering with restaurants like Maki Shop, Beefsteak, District Taco and more. You know, your downtown lunch spots.
Sound like a familiar model? It might — MealPal cofounder Mary Biggins was previously the cofounder of ClassPass, and the similarities in approach are pretty evident.
Along with a new name and some new cities of operation, MealPal unveiled new user experience features on Monday. These include calendar notifications so you don’t forget to reserve your lunch in the scheduling window, and a Tinder-like interface for recording ingredient and food-type preferences.
All in all, the model is an interesting one.
Subscribe to a service like MealPal and you lose the flexibility and serendipity of grabbing lunch yourself or even ordering through a service like UberEats or DoorDash. But if you’re someone who gets easily overwhelmed by the options, this can get you off the hook. Essentially, much like ClassPass, MealPal aims to make trying new things streamline so that you’ll actually do it.
“We want to make it quicker, easier and more affordable for members to actually experience and enjoy their cities’ diverse food cultures,” Biggins said in a statement.


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