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 photo of a new subdivision of high-end suburban homes in Highland, Maryland.
    Equity

    Unpacking the Power of Privileged Neighborhoods

    A new study shows that growing up in an affluent community brings “compounding privileges” and higher educational attainment—especially for white residents.

  2. A rendering of Durham's proposed light rail
    Transportation

    Thanks to Duke, Durham's Light Rail Dream Is All But Dead

    After 20 years of planning, the North Carolina Research Triangle’s signature transit project is fighting for its life. Why did Duke University pull its support?

  3. A woman works at a McDonald's drive-through window.
    Equity

    As AI Takes Over Jobs, Women Workers May Have the Most to Lose

    Women, especially if they are Hispanic, may be at most financial risk from the automation of jobs says a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

  4. Map of United States with Numbers on Each State
    Perspective

    The Affordable Home Crisis Continues, But Bold New Plans May Help

    Wyoming fares best; Nevada the worst. No state has an adequate supply of homes for its poorest renters a new National Low Income Housing Coalition report finds.

  5. Illustration of a house with separate activities taking place in different rooms.
    POV

    The Case for Rooms

    It’s time to end the tyranny of open-concept interior design.