30 Days of MealPass

Random Observation/Comment #552: I miss the simplicity of cafeterias at school. Who am I kidding – my mom packed lunch for me. Can I get on that meal plan again?

pacman food

At the end of April 2016, my colleague introduced me to Mealpass. Naturally, I signed up immediately and decided to make a 30 day challenge out of it and see how much money I saved (and at what hidden cost).

What is it?

The best way to describe it is “Classpass for food” with a few small details:

  • Only a limited number of restaurants in Midtown and Flatiron offer daily selections
  • Each participating restaurant can choose whichever dish they’d like to offer
  • You must choose/reserve your meal between 7pm and 9:30am the day before
  • Mealpass only works on weekdays for exactly 30 days (not month date to month date)

Experimental Setup

If I were to use this mealpass for what it’s worth, I needed to be regiment on booking meals and commit to eating what I booked for all weekdays. Of course, I had to collect data on this. First things first: create a Google Form that I could fill out every time I had a meal. This captured:



I used the google sheets output to help me run a few interesting statistics:

  • Initial Cost per month: $120
  • Number of Meals: 17
  • Average Price per Meal: $7.06
  • Normal Price of Meals (Sum): $161.50
  • Average Normal Price per Meal: $9.50
  • Total Savings: $41.50
  • Discount savings per Meal: 25.70%
  • Average size of Food: Medium-Big
  • Order again percentage: 58.82%
  • “Awesome” percentage: 47.06%

Does it work? Would you Recommend it?

Here’s what I liked:

  • It was pretty convenient skipping the line and picking up food
  • There were some pretty awesome deals of lunch that are normally $12+ (e.g. Reichenbach Hall and Japas 38)
  • Selection is actually pretty decent for working on 37th and Broadway (but pretty crap everywhere else)
  • Great conversation starter. I don’t mind talking about mealpass and its benefits.

Here’s what I didn’t:

  • Weekly repetitive meals. I got used to the menu and didn’t want to have anything that was too far of a walk away.
  • Ordering the day before. I lost a lot of my spontaneity, but at the same time I didn’t have to think about lunch because I already made the decision. Some good and some bad there.
  • Eating at my desk. Because it’s all food to-go, I did a lot more eating at my desk than I wanted to. Luckily, I had someone else who was getting mealpass so we went to pick up our food together.
  • Guilt of not using mealpass. This was a big one. it’s that “gym phenomenon” of getting my moneys worth and then winding up missing out anyway. I felt more guilty buying food on top of the cost I’ve paid because technically I’m already paying a flat fee per weekday I don’t use the service.
  • Less money saved from leftovers. As a person that likes to cook a lot, I think I saved the same amount of money just bringing leftovers from dinner. In fact, I may have wasted food for not bringing those leftovers to work.
  • Crappy credit card and money management. In the whole payment transaction process, I was not told how much I would be charged for this service to my credit card and I was not able to cancel without a lengthy email with the title “CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION” and a phone call. It was then that I realized that it’s only 30 days instead of month-to-month distinctions, so I needed to pay a separate make-up fee for the meals that went over (I did not include these meals or extra fee in this 30 day analysis)



It was worth the 30 day challenge to save a few bucks, but I did not renew (plus I do not intend to in the future). I really love eating with coworkers and choosing my food destiny with spontaneity, but I also think this might be a fun experiment for some people who live in the area.

~See Lemons Back to Regular Lunch

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