US-based MealPal launches in Toronto to capture “skip the line” market

Miami-based MealPal announced that it has launched in Toronto to win over the city with its monthly lunch subscription service.

Founded in Miami in January 2016, MealPal is available in nine cities including Boston, New York, and San Francisco. The company allows users to browse through the daily lunch menus of participating restaurants on its website and app. Once they’ve selected a preferred meal, users can choose a time to pick up their lunch.

MealPal, which currently has over 100 Toronto-based restaurants on board, lets users buy lunch meals in advance to avoid long lines. The company also said that using MealPal can help users save over $1,500 in a year, as each MealPal lunch costs approximately $7, compared to actual prices, which range from $10 to $16.

“With the diversity of restaurants and the city’s rich food culture, Toronto was a natural fit for
MealPal’s expansion,” said Mary Biggins, co-founder and CEO of MealPal. Biggins is also the co-founder of ClassPlass. “We’re excited to launch here and bring working professionals a new, low-cost way to enjoy the city’s many restaurants.”

While several meal service startups have come to Toronto, not all have lasted in the city. In December 2016, Austin, Texas-based Favour, a food delivery startup that promised to deliver food from local restaurants in under an hour, announced that it was shutting down its operations in Toronto.

It’ll be a while before knowing whether MealPal gains traction in Toronto, but it’s certain that its main competitor will be Ritual, the go-to non-delivery lunch ordering app for people in Toronto. Last year, Ritual launched Ritual Rewards, a loyalty program that allows users to earn points for every dollar they spend, which can go toward free food and drinks. The company has over 500 places in Toronto offering rewards and discounts.

MealPal has plans to expand to other cities in the coming months.

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.

  • John Smith

    Why settle for a US-based service, when we have our own Canadian LunchBoxPass.ca

  • Jonathan

    You still can’t enter a postal code in their app. No cheap lunches yet ????

  • http://bit.ly/samdumcum Sam D

    Based on this article, it looks like MealPlan is taking the same 30% from restaurants that Ritual and others do. The disruption pricing for the end user is clear (discounted meals). However restaurants in the downtown core already cut prices to stay competitive, every percent counts. Disrupting a new market like Toronto, MP would likely benefit from a restaurant incentive as well (15% commission the first year would earn more restaurants).