Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mealster - Review

[Updated with comments from Rohit, the founder]

Amazon's headquarter in Seattle's South Lake Union has a fairly large employee base, and surprisingly these people get collectively hungry right about noon time. To tackle this unusual problem there are cafes, restaurants, and food trucks dotting the area. However, demand seems to grossly outweigh supply, especially during the peak period of 12:00 -12:30 PM. Add to this the occasional lunch time meetings and the constant companion - Seattle rains. This gives rise to a demand for lunch delivered to your desk. Although this had been acknowledged for a while by one and all, it took sometime for a bunch of enterprising guys to come up with a business plan. 

Introducing Mealster. I'll let them explain how it works directly.



Fairly simple. And comparatively affordable, as for the same ~$10 price (inclusive of tips, taxes and delivery) you get food truck fare, usually less filling than the restaurant fare Mealster has been offering.

I tried them out for the first time today. Sign up and checkout was a breeze, you can use all sorts of cards and Paypal. Here's a snapshot of their menu for this week.

Meat option


Veg Option


And here's how it actually looked. If you have a 3D printer feel free to download a plate.


Bottomline:

Pros 
  • convenient
  • affordable (comparatively)
  • filling
  • tasty
  • healthy (I'd like to believe!)


Cons
  • need to warm the food as it can get slightly cold
Rohit: This seems like a hard / external problem to solve (e.g. esp in case of cold weather etc.). I would to add that the containers are microwaveable (and ecofriendly), so one can take out the raita and heat the container/food for 1 minute in the microwave (ease of reheating). We will try to look into options of having warmer bags that are used to carry the food boxes.
  • no specific time mentioned (between 12-1 PM)
Rohit: Great point. We are planning to come up w a delivery window for each building (based on our delivery route). We will keep our subscribers informed about updates via our mailing list and website.
  • lack of options as of now (tie up with only 2 restaurant - Chutneys and Sichuianese Cuisine)
Rohit: We are working to onboard new restaurants on a weekly basis, for the next few weeks. We will keep our subscribers informed about updates via our mailing list and website.
  • flight food packing feel and flimsy plasticware
Rohit: I have passed along this feedback to Nitin, the owner of Chutneys. They will be looking into better options.

Will recommend giving these guys a try.






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