I don't tend to get handed a lot of flyers. I'm not sure if it's the "don't bother me" face when power-walking around town or the fact that a greying, mid-30's man sometimes pushing a buggy is not exactly 'target market' for the average Manchester city centre flyer marketing a student bar or club.
There won't have been a great deal of enthusiam on my face when I took the flyer thrust into my hand on my Monday morning hustle to work, however that changed quickly when I saw some magic words; "£50 Amazon Voucher" and "Skip the queue, Your meal will be ready when you arrive".
It's fairly well known in this office I have an unhealthy addition to all things Amazon... rarely a week goes past without a prime delivery arriving. I'm also known for enjoying lunch.... But not really having time for it.
So... Mealpal... what is it, why is it... most importantly how do I get my £50 amazon voucher? Well a quick scan of the website and leaflet and I've worked out that for less than a £5 a day I can once a day get a choice of meals from local eateries - collect only. First problem... I sometimes try to be good and bring in food from home, plus sometimes I am away on meetings etc. Once a day (Monday-Friday) would be wasteful, thankfully there is a 12meals a month option as well as the slightly cheaper 20 per month option (£4.79 a meal). So can I have my £50 voucher yet? No... That comes when my 2nd month starts. Fair enough.
So I get signed up and go to order... uh-oh! The "kitchen" doesn't open till 5pm. Basically, your selection/ordering window is 5PM-9:30am. ok, so no Mealpal for me today.
5pm arrives and an email arrives reminding me to order.... so I jump on the website and have a pleasantly large range of options to choose from, feeling a health kick I go for the Chicken Cobb Salad from Chop'd (normal price £5.75) and arrange to collect in a 15minute window next day. Easy.
Fast forward to lunchtime next day, a quick walk and I'm hovering awkwardly in Chop'd, don't get me wrong they had a very clear sign up showing where to collect for Mealpal - But there is something very unBritish about walking past a queue!
I get my bounty home and I am very pleasantly surprised, whenever I've done a "deal" for food in the past (i.e. Groupon etc) it's been lacklustre, but there was enough Chicken, Bacon & blue cheese to keep me happy and fuelled up through an afternoon of candidate conversations at Priority Recruitment.
Chop'd, would I go back? Yes
Mealpal, will I keep it after my amazon voucher arrives? Too early to say, but early signs are positive.
It is an interesting business model, I've seen prepay models before but not one like this that provides such a broad range. If they can keep all the restaurants happy and supplying quality decent sized portions quickly, then it should be childsplay keeping the customers happy.
Written by Kieron Smithson, who quite clearly wasn't paid or incentivised to write this (other than the amazon voucher) but just likes food and writing/talking. :-)