Grabbing a quick meal can turn into an ordeal in the city during peak times. Most food establishments don’t have the capacity to handle the influx of hungry people and this results in longer times for your food to not only be prepared but also lengthy waits to pay for the meal. MealPal was founded in 2016 to provide an affordable subscription service that allows you to pick up a meal from a wide array of restaurants without worrying about prep time or wait; essentially providing a preferred dining service for a few dollars a day. The company has grown significantly, expanded to twelve cities, and now has thousands of restaurants on the platform. It just a launched a dinner service to bring this same level of efficiency to your evening.
We sat down with Mary Biggins, cofounder and CEO, to chat about the company’s latest round of funding and expansion plans.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
MealPal announced a $20 million Series B investment. This round of funding, led by Menlo Ventures, brings MealPal’s total funding to $35 million since its January 2016 launch. Previous investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Comcast Ventures, Haystack Partners, and NextView Ventures, all participated in this new round.
Tell us about your product or service.
MealPal is the subscription service that makes meal pick-up convenient and affordable. With a MealPal membership, you can enjoy lunch for less than $6 per day and now, New Yorkers can pick-up dinner for under $7. There are thousands of restaurants available on the MealPal platform — everything from salad shops and farm to table eateries to poke shops and burger joints. Each restaurant on the platform offers one lunch meal per day.
MealPal members can see a photo of the exact meal and a list of the ingredients, so you know exactly what you are reserving. MealPal customers are able to reserve their meals in advance and are then able to skip the line when picking up.
MealPal is currently available in 12 cities including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, London, Toronto, and Sydney.
Prior to MealPal, I struggled to get a good workday lunch. I’m impatient and cost-conscious, so always found delivery expensive and waiting in line for food inefficient. MealPal solves both of those problems by making weekday lunches affordable and efficient to pick up.
How is it different?
We are focused on creating an affordable and efficient daily routine for our users. We want to be how consumers get lunch (and now dinner!) on most weekdays. In order to be a habit for a large audience, it requires having a really appealing price point and seamless user experience. For MealPal members, we try to make the meal selection process as simple as possible. Users can select their meal starting at 5pm the night before, and are able to skip the line when they go to pick up their meal. Additionally, we gather data on meal preferences and specific ingredients so that you can have the best possible meal at all times.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
The food industry is $96 billion, and we’re focused primarily on busy professionals within urban, walkable cities who want more convenient and affordable options for lunch. The average meal on MealPal retails for over $10. With a MealPal membership, you can get those same meals for less than $6 – saving over 40% per month on lunch.
What’s your business model?
Would you please tell us about the decision to launch dinner service?
Dinner was a natural next step for MealPal — it was one of the most requested features from both consumers and restaurants. Our restaurants really appreciate the efficiency that they get from MealPal for lunch orders, while our consumers were craving the same efficiencies and affordability at dinner time.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
The new funding will support further team and market expansion in the United States and beyond, We’ll also use the funding to continue to improve the MealPal product, starting with the launch of dinner service in NYC.
Where is your favorite fall destination in the city?
I love watching the NYC marathon… from the sidelines with a hot dog.