PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A subscription service just launched in Portland that promises to make workweek lunches easier.
The lunch rush can be hard for customers and restaurants but MealPal promises to be the high-tech answer that will save time and money.
Participating Portland restaurants like Garden Bar will offer one of their regular menu items each day for MealPal customers.
“It’ll allow us to have dedicated people to prepare these meals without interfering with the service for our guests that come into the store,” Garden Bar owner Ana Chaud said.
Garden Bar manager Rosalie Simonitch said it’s “super convenient” on her end.
“At 10:30 I get an email showing what I need to produce,” Simonitch said. “It’s super simple to have someone assigned to that production.”
Customers just have to order in advance, starting at 5 p.m. the night before and by 10:30 a.m. the day of.
“When you reserve with MealPal, you go to the restaurant, you’re able to skip the line, your meal will be ready right when you get there,” co-founder Mary Biggins said.
Biggins said it’s a win-win. Local restaurants can operate more efficiently and customers can save money.
“For restaurants, the highest cost they’re facing is actually their labor costs. With MealPal, because each restaurant is just offering one meal per day, they’re able to get really good economies of scale and efficiencies in making that one item,” Biggins said.
MealPal was first introduced in New York in 2016 and it now operates in 21 cities. It launched last spring in Seattle, which was one of the fastest-ground markets.
There are 50 downtown Portland restaurants on board so far and Biggins expects several thousand customers within a month or so.