BluIz60 / Shutterstock.com

This new monthly service helps you beat the midday crowd.

From Seamless and GrubHub to Maple and Blue Apron, cities certainly don’t suffer from a shortage of convenient—and cleverly named—food delivery services. But all that money you shell out for your beloved Pad See Ew or trio of street tacos each week can add up pretty quickly. While popular food delivery services are notoriously overpriced—and, in some cases, take a nearly 14 percent commission from the average order—a new service called MealPass aims to offer a more affordable alternative.

It works like this: for a starting fee of $99 per month, users can choose discounted meals at local restaurants and skip the lunchtime lines. (The company estimates that, all in, lunch on the plan will run you about $5 per workday.) Potential customers can enter their information online to be added to a waitlist. Should you sign up? We weighed some pros and cons:

Reasons to buy

It helps you manage your time. Subscribers choose a 15-minute window to swing by the restaurant to pick up their orders. Then you can use the rest of your lunch break to catch up with co-workers, or, yes, to eat alone.  

There’s no cash or card involved. Because MealPass is a pre-paid service, there’s no need to bring your wallet with you—just grab and go.

Reasons to pass

Your food options are limited. Each of the participating restaurants offers just one option a day. So if you’re accustomed to purchasing your favorite hoagie at the deli down the street, chances are you’ll need to forgo your preference in favor of a pre-set item.

You have to predict your whims. Subscribers also have to decide what they want for lunch by 9:30 a.m.—hours before those lunchtime cravings set in—to allow restaurants adequate time to prepare. Meal options are posted at 7 p.m. the night before, leaving only a brief window for you to schedule your pick-up.

It’s not available in your city. Currently, MealPass is only available in Boston, Miami, and New York. (About 130 restaurants are signed up in NYC, and a few less in Boston and Miami.) But if it turns out to be as successful as its sister service, the exercise subscription ClassPass, chances are we’ll be seeing it in a number of cities very soon.

Top image: BluIz60 / Shutterstock.com

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Governors from coast to coast Friday told Americans not to leave home except for dire circumstances and ordered nonessential business to shut their doors.
    Equity

    The Geography of Coronavirus

    What do we know so far about the types of places that are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19? In the U.S., density is just the beginning of the story.

  2. photo: A lone tourist in Barcelona, one of several global cities that have seen a massive crash in Airbnb bookings.
    Coronavirus

    Can Airbnb Survive Coronavirus?

    The short-term rental market is reeling from the coronavirus-driven tourism collapse. Can the industry’s dominant player stage a comeback after lockdowns lift?

  3. photo: South Korean soldiers attempt to disinfect the sidewalks of Seoul's Gagnam district in response to the spread of COVID-19.
    Coronavirus

    Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem

    Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.  

  4. Traffic-free Times Square in New York City
    Maps

    Mapping How Cities Are Reclaiming Street Space

    To help get essential workers around, cities are revising traffic patterns, suspending public transit fares, and making more room for bikes and pedestrians.

  5. Illustration: two roommates share a couch with a Covid-19 virus.
    Coronavirus

    For Roommates Under Coronavirus Lockdown, There Are a Lot of New Rules

    Renters in apartments and houses share more than just germs with their roommates: Life under coronavirus lockdown means negotiating new social rules.

×