FoodWhere to Eat

$8 lunches could become the norm for Sydney CBD workers

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Start-up subscription lunch service, MealPal launched in Sydney yesterday and promises to make eating out cheaper (and healthier) with $8 lunches.

Savvy corporates are eating out more than ever, but spending less on each meal. But thanks to New York-based entrepreneur Mary Biggins, they’ll be able to cut their spending down to $8 a lunch.

Data provided by Restaurant and Catering Australia shows that on average, consumers have cut down on spending by $1 to $20.50 a per meal at a restaurant, and by 80 cents to $13.80 per meal at a café.

MealPal, which lunched in 2016, is taking advantage of the trend and has this week launched its app-based subscription service in Sydney. It provides CBD locals with $8 lunch options from over 100 partner cafes and restaurants including Sumo Salad, Guzman Y Gomez, Fratelli Famous, Chicken Confidential and Zeus Street Greek.

It works by offering subscribers who pay a monthly fee two packages which are valid for 30 days each: 20 lunches at $7.49 each or 12 lunches for $7.99 each –  so $149.80 or $95.88 per month.

On offer is one dish each weekday from each of its partner eateries. Users must place their orders through the app from 5pm the night before, or 9:30am in the morning, to be collected from the restaurant between 11:30am and 2:30pm during a preselected 15 minute window. Just jump the queue, flash the confirmation email and you’ll have your lunch.


MealPal lunch subscription service. Image: SMH

Whether or not this will be a successful tool for busy corporates who might not be able to lock down a certain time for lunch is yet to be seen, but for an $8 lunch, it might be worth it.

Backing off the success of food delivery service and honing in on the desire for convenience, MealPal managed to raise $US15 million in venture capital in February to fund its growth, and is already available in 10 cities including London, Toronto and New York City.

“Our goal is to make lunch more affordable and more efficient for young working professionals,” Ms Biggins told

“When you go to pick up your lunch, you get to skip the line and your meal will already be ready, so you can be in and out very quickly,” Ms Biggins said.

“Consumers end up making healthier choices because they’re picking [their meal] in advance. Rather than having an impulse at 12.30pm, they’ve already made a healthy decision ahead of time.”

According to MealPal, its service is more efficient because it drives large volumes of orders, and as the restaurants get the orders ahead of time, they’re able to plan in advance and operate more efficiently.

Ms Biggins is also the co-founder of fitness app ClassPass, where consumers pay a monthly fee giving them access different workout classes to a variety of boutique gyms and fitness studios. Founded in 2010 in New York City, it is now valued at an estimated $400 million. according to Forbes.

Find more information here.