MealPass just launched in NYC. You pay a monthly fee ($99 for the initial launch month, $119 thereafter) and you get to pick a weekday lunch from participating restaurants in the Flatiron, Chelsea, Union Square, Murray Hill area (as of now). Luckily, I work right dab in the center of it all. That comes out to 20 lunches/month, $5/meal for the first month.

I got to try it out for the first two days. They have a lot of participating restaurants. Some I think are pretty good, some I go to often already, and some I’ve always wanted to try. Restaurants like Inday, Jimmy’s House, Dos Caminos, Choza Taqueria, Chop Shop II.

01 MealPass 02 MealPass 03 MealPass 07 MealPass

Each participating restaurant has one item available each weekday. It changes daily. I would say they do range from around $5-10ish in value. From 2 pepperoni slices and a drink at 2 Brothers Pizza (Note that they are known for $1 cheese slices. I feel like this is a bum deal. It almost seems like you lose money in this case.) …to other options like Chicken Schnitzel or noodles or salad from nicer places that could be worth $10ish. I also see smoothies that are probably worth $7-8.

The menu opens up at 7pm the night before the weekday. You have until 9:30am of the weekday to make your decision. I can tell you that will be a problem for me. I’m going to be drunk and forget and hungover the next morning. I know I’m going to forget to pick my meals some days. I’ve had trouble remembering to pick my NFL Fantasy Pick ’em and Survival Leagues. Those you only had to make a choice once a week. And I have to know what time I can pick up my lunch. How do I know how busy I’ll be at work? And how do I know what I want to eat tomorrow. It takes me a half hour to decide on a toothpaste at CVS. Also, you’d have to check the weather forecast before you pick your lunch. What if it’s going to storm? You’d want to pick a place close-by.

Plus you don’t really know what’s available until you sign up, pay the monthly charge, and wait until 7pm to see the menu. I couldn’t show my co-workers the menu because of this. There’s no menu online between 9:30am-7pm. My co-workers were interested, but waited to see how it played out for me since they couldn’t see a menu.

But… I think if you are on top of it, it really works out as a good deal. And you get to try new places you’d never try otherwise. Also you get to skip the line to pick up your meal.

The meals I’ve gotten so far: Unagi Don (Eel Rice Bowl) at Burp Bowl Cafe and Chicken Schnitzel at Cafe Prague. They were pretty good. It was their normal portion. No skimping as I could tell. I’m not sure I would have tried them otherwise. Glad I got a chance.

04 Unagi Don - Burp Bowl Cafe 05 Chicken Schnitzel - Cafe Prague

Now… I’m wondering if I will sign up for MealPass or not. I’m definitely considering it. My issues: I have a particular diet these days. I try to cut back on carbs and dairy. So this limits my options, but maybe I can do a month of cheat days. Another thing, if you cancel your account and want to rejoin later, there is a $79 re-activation fee or a $19/month On-Hold fee (say if you’re going on vacation or just need a break). Seems like a weird fee, but I guess it’s part of how they make their money.

I don’t know. I’ve had fun the past couple of days with MealPass. But I feel like this is like the early days of Netflix physical DVD subscriptions. You have be on top of it. You have to watch that stupid DVD immediately that you thought you wanted to watch a week ago, so you can return it and get another stupid DVD. I remember I had to get at least 3 DVDs a month to make it a better deal than renting at Blockbusters. A lot of hassle to make it worth the value.

I don’t know …I think I will try MealPass at least for a full month. YOLO.

http://mealpass.com

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