At the shops / Places in Manchester

#AD / Using the Meal Pal app

Updated 1st January 2020

Grabbing lunch on the go can be an arduous task when you forget to meal plan properly or in this case if I’m travelling. Trying to decide what you want quickly and then waiting in the long queue takes time out of what is normally a precious 30 min to an hour for relaxation away from the stresses of the job. When Meal Pal approached me with a no-nonsense approach to getting lunch, I tried it out just before hopping on a long train journey.*

What is Meal Pal?

Meal Pal screen
Meal Pal is an American company who have launched in London and Manchester in the UK. It allows you to quickly book your lunch the day before so all you need to do is arrive at the til (skipping the queue!), pick up your food and go! Each day, eateries around the city offer one option you can choose to book, and each day this differs. So on Monday, the Bagel Factory offered a Smoked Salmon Bagel & Crisps, but on another day they might offer a Salt Beef Melt Bagel & Crisps. This restricted choice makes choosing your lunch easier.


Meal Pal does try to put some filtering options, which they will try to improve on. As it launched it America, there are some regional words that would need changing, such as using cilantro instead of coriander.

How do I place an order?

You can place an order for your meal the day before you are due to collect it. The booking system opens at 5pm the day before collection and closes 9:30am on the day of the collection. You can set up email reminders to make sure you book your meal in time too!

Meal Pal notifications

You browse around the map for a place close to where you work, or where you will be when you want to pick up food. In Manchester, there are several sites dotted around the city centre, although unfortunately not so many where I work near the universities. You tap on the location to find out who the vendor is and what is available to collect. I’ve provided two examples below:

You then choose a collection time from the list and that’s you done! A confirmation email will be sent and you basically just show this or the app on your phone when you pick it up at til, avoiding alll those queues.

Meal Pal confirmation screen

How much is it?

Meal Pal pricing
There are different pricing options, 12 meals for the next 30 days, priced at £4.79 a meal or 20 meals for the next 30 days priced at £4.39 a meal. You can pause your cycle if you reason you won’t be using your lunches in time.

Meal Pal pricing
If you cancel, Meal Pal will offer another option where you pay for 12 meals at £5.29 each. I don’t personally find this option to be useful, especially as I think you can just pause your subscription whenever you’d like. It does require forward planning though, so perhaps this is better for a fuss-free payment plan?

Cancelling Meal Pal

Cancelling Meal Pal

Cancelling your plan is a huge risk as they may charge a £15 reactivation fee, which I do think is absurd! This is definitely a major factor for me as I hate how it’s essentially scaring the consumer into keeping the app and just putting plans on hold. This is something my readers should be aware of if you do try the app out.

Meal Pal invite code

I’m going to reiterate that in Manchester, all the eateries taking part are close to the city centre, so not ideal if you work outside this area. You can check what places are taking part by checking out the Meal Pal website and scrolling down to the map (click Manchester to see places in Manchester). The app also only works during the working week and collection is around lunch time so it is really not suitable unless you happen to be nearby.

Having said the above, if you still want to give Meal Pal a try, you can get 3 meals for free for just being my reader! Sign up using the following link (you will need to put in your card details, but won’t be charged for the first three meals in the cycle)!

Overall it’s an interesting idea, but one I won’t personally be keeping.Meal Pal map small

A sample of Eateries on Meal Pal

Some places I have reviewed before that are on Meal Pal:



*I was invited to try out Meal Pal and did not have to pay for my first few meals


  • Lacey Houghton
    27th September 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I think I’m gonna need this app for my freelance days! That’s so handy for when you know you won’t have time 🙂

  • Katya Willems
    27th September 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I think it’s a very clever idea, which could maybe be tweaked a bit to be a bit more flexible! xx

    • Elsa Eats
      28th September 2017 at 9:31 am

      Yeah, it definitely has potential if meal prepping isn’t your thing.

  • Nicolette Lafonseca
    27th September 2017 at 7:10 pm

    So many new apps on the market and this one I am actually excited by thank you for sharing

    • Elsa Eats
      28th September 2017 at 9:31 am

      Definitely try out the referral link/code I have to get 3 free meals to start 🙂

  • Liam West
    20th November 2017 at 5:43 pm

    I was lucky enough to photograph the majority of the places and got to sample so many different foods. A little perk of the job. I can recommend every single place on the app. Smoke Shack and Favelas were my two stand out.


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