MealPass Adds 300 New Partner Restaurants, Expanding Foot Traffic Advantage

The pre-paid lunch subscription startup is a business favorite for one major reason: it requires users to pick up their food in person.

MealPass is expanding to all of Manhattan below 60th Street today, a move that will double its network of restaurants from 300 to 600 — and give a whole host of new eateries the opportunity to drive foot traffic through the lunch start-up’s unique business model.

MealPass, co-founded by one of the minds behind ClassPass, is a subscription service that allows New Yorkers to pre-pay $119 a month for all of their weekly lunches. Participating restaurants list their upcoming lunch menus the night before, and members must choose what they want by 9:30 AM. Then, they pick up their order in person.

The real benefit for businesses? The fact that partnering with MealPass is about more than providing on-demand delivery: The requirement that customers come to the restaurant to get their food drives foot traffic to the storefront and makes it more likely that users will return of their own accord.

How Visits Build Loyalty

Restaurants such as Bread, Bill’s Bar & Burger, and Spring Street Natural, are being added to MealPass as part of the footprint expansion, Eater reported Monday. Additionally, MealPass is launching a mobile app to serve the roughly 70 percent of users who order lunch on their phones.

As we wrote in April, MealPass could experience growing pains as it continues to scale — especially if it moves beyond markets like New York and San Francisco, where on-demand apps and subscription services of this kind are so common. But early response to the start-up has been largely positive from users and restaurants alike.

“We have a brand new customer hearing the music, seeing the decorations, seeing what other people are ordering,” Bombay Sandwich Co. owner Shiv Puri said following MealPass’ initial launch. “It’s a great way to bring more awareness.” Delivery start-ups work well, but the orders can feel anonymous and transactional, he added.

Instead, MealPass users have at least a bare minimum opportunity to experience the participating restaurant’s customer service and “personality” — and the resulting relationships are what truly engender loyalty in the digital era.

Now, a host of new eateries will have the chance to be discovered on desktop and mobile by MealPass users. But then it’s up to them to keep those diners coming back.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.