|Photo Credit: Lolography|
1. Firstly, this app will only be relevant if you're based in the City of London, Soho and most recently Canary Wharf ...if you are based somewhere else, then maybe this isn't for you right now!
2. MealPal is basically the classpass of lunch. And I know that may stir up some desirable and undesirable feelings in us as individuals. You buy a package (i.e 12 or 20 meals) and you have a month to eat them all up. The cheapest each meal is is around £4.85 and it's worth noting that you can only reserve one meal per day.
3. On the topic of reserving meals. I learnt this the hard way. The "kitchen" opens at 5pm the evening before lunch and you have till 930am on the morning of to place an order. This is only a Monday - Friday thing too so will suit office workers a lot better than maybe those who work in retail / shift work
4. I'm loving how one point brings me so perfectly to the next. Working in retail (I did this for 3+ years recently) means that you don't work regular hours and you typically don't know when your lunch break will be and if you do, you probably won't know in time to use the app to order in advance and you can't guarantee that you'll be relieved for your break on time...
|Photo Credit: Lolography|
5. Because when you order your lunch, you choose a 15 minute slot for collection. One day when I was on the train to collect my meal I realised that the confirmation email said that the restaurant would throw out your meal if it wasn't collected in the allocated time slot. Well, you can imagine the sinking feeling I felt but I was lucky when I turned up 15 minutes late that they still had my food albeit a little cold (my own fault). But you know, meetings run over and shizz soooo you'd be a little sad if your food was thrown out, huh?!
6. Keep in mind that this is a collection only app. When you arrive to collect your food, it's usually been bagged up ready for you to go on your merry way so if you're a huge fan of lunch al-desko then you win! It's certainly not always been the best weather for eating lunch outside and the one time I did ask a restaurant about eating in, they didn't exactly welcome me with open arms!
7. Don't use it and you lose it! I had 20 meals to use between 1st and 28th March (...you can also get a package of 12 meals). When you count, there were only 20 days available to use the app so to get my money's worth I would have to eat lunch via it every. single. day. So no lunching with colleagues. No lunch meetings. Not working from home / another location. And for me, who isn't in town every single weekday will be left with 6/7 meals unused...
8. Value for money. I ate a lot of burritos from Chilangos which cost about £6 without the app so that's a saving of about £1. One day I had a meal from Protein Haus which they sell for £5 so I saved what, 20p?! ...and the thing is you have no flexibility in what you can order. Each location offers one meal per day and it can't be customised. Personally with the Protein Haus meal I would rather pay 20p more and be able to choose what I wanna eat.
9. The meals that are offered are not that substantial. One day I had a bowl of pesto pasta. No protein in that meal. One day a margarita pizza. Filling, but uninspiring. One day I had a halloumi burger which was more bread than anything. The slice of halloumi was laughable. And the chips were put in a container that made them sweat. I don't like sweaty chips. So typically, if you wanna get a decent meal, you'd actually still have to spend more for regular priced sides and drinks.
10. My favourite meal of all the ones I tried was from The Good Schnit off Bow Lane in the City. But I've eaten there before so I knew they wouldn't disappoint me! Their customer service is also some of the best you'll get in London Town! ...the queue in the height of the lunchtime rush hour speaks for itself so ordering via MealPal on this occasion could be ya saving grace!
Well, I definitely don't think this is a raving review of MealPal but it is honest and constructive, and that's what I'm here to do, right?! They've only recently launched in London and I'm sure they have plenty of improvements to make. If they continue to build relationships with their vendors in town I'm sure they will have a strong model that we just won't be able to get enough of... but my feedback, and any other customer feedback they get will need to be taken onboard!
I also gave MealPal an open opportunity to comment on this here post and here is what I received...
(Lauren Corregano, MealPal) - "Thanks for sharing your experience of using MealPal and for giving us the opportunity to reply to some of the points you raised. With regards to the collection windows, we work with our partner restaurants to ensure that users’ lunches are served up within their chosen slot to avoid too much waiting time and let them jump the queue! If users realise they’re unable to make their lunch slot after reserving, the order can be cancelled via the app before orders are sent to restaurants at 9.30am and our team are on hand to help with any queries. We’ve found that lots of our users are able to save considerable amounts by using the app - as much as £620 a year. We work with our restaurant partners to make sure that the meals being offered are varied, well-packaged and of a high quality - we’re happy to share any feedback you might have with specific partners if you would like us to do so."
So peeps, if I come across any special offers for the app ( no refer a friend codes right now *insert crying emoji*) I will be the first to share (usually all over Twitter) so keep an eye out!
Have you already tried MealPal?! Where's your favourite place to lunch when you've not had time to pack it?!