A ClassPass co-founder takes her skills to the food world with this subscription-based weekday lunch service

By Carly Graf
Updated: March 30, 2016

The eternal struggle of lunch is real. (Seriously, here are 4 Packed Lunch Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making.) You want something convenient so you can make it back in time for your afternoon meeting, but exciting enough to reenergize you for the tasks you still have to tackle. You want a meal that tastes great and leaves you feeling good for the rest of the day, but don't want to break the bank with an overpriced bento box and smoothie combo. For many people, all that confusion typically results in a lackluster half meal, half snack that offers little to no nutritious value. ClassPass co-founder Mary Biggins knows how you feel-"I'm one of those people who would look up and realize it was 4 p.m. and that I hadn't eaten, pop a bag of M&Ms, and call it a day," she admits.

That's why she created MealPass, a subscription-based service that lets you order mid-day meals from different restaurants for a flat monthly fee. "Our goal is to give people a way to discover new lunch options near them that are affordable, efficient, and fueling," explains Biggins. Other on-demand services just aren't realistic from a cost perspective ($15 delivery burritos, anyone?) and it's easy to fall into a rut if you're only covering the same three-block radius every day.

All the restaurants offered to you will be within a 15-minute walk from your location and, once you arrive, you skip the line entirely to pick up your ready-made meal so you get your food faster. Convenience: check. For just $99 a month, you can get a different lunch every day of the work week without any limits on how often you return to one place. That clocks in at about $5 per meal. Affordability: check. With about 120 restaurants currently on the New York City platform, there's something for everyone, from your tofu and maple water-loving cubicle mate to the mac 'n' cheese enthusiast down the hall. Taste: check. (But if you really want that bento box, try these 10 Bento Box Lunches We're Craving Right Now.)

No matter your level of health-consciousness, MealPass has you covered. The service includes venues that range from fast casual to more of a sit-down situation, so your degree of customization varies. In addition, all the meals offered are vetted by the MealPass staff, tagged so you can see every ingredient they include, and filtered so you can search by dietary restriction.

Here are the nuts and bolts: Every participating restaurant offers one option daily. Starting at 7 p.m. the night before, MealPass members can check out their options. They then have until 9:30 a.m. the next morning to choose what they want for lunch as well as a time for pick-up between 11:30 and 2:30. (Try selecting your window based on The Best Time to Eat to Lose Weight.) By the time the mid-day stomach grumbles arrive, people can pick up their meals directly from the restaurant, guaranteeing a middle of the day stretch break as well.

The service launches today in the New York City neighborhoods of Union Square, Flatiron, and Chelsea. But don't fret you Midtown die-hards, there are plans to expand in the works. In January, MealPass stormed the scene in Boston and Miami, having sold over 25,000 lunches in the two cities combined since the start. And there are plans to expand-within NYC and in other cities.

Sign up today to say goodbye to your #saddesksalad and hello to a whole new world of lunching.


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