The subscription meal service formerly known as MealPass has rebranded as MealPal, in a move that shows it’s increasingly in touch with users. In addition to the name change, the rebrand includes a new user interface and updated business model designed to better meet the individual needs and reflect the actual behaviors of its users. Obviously timed to coincide with the expansion of the business, MealPal has launched its services to Chicago and Washington, DC, having previously been available in Miami, Boston, New York, and San Francisco.
The food app, both in name and in operating model, was originally related to the fitness start-up ClassPass, as both companies share a founder. ClassPass is a subscription service that gives users access to participating gyms and classes in their areas. The core value proposition for both MealPass and ClassPass was the ability to offer users a plethora of options through one portal, at a flat monthly fee.
MealPal is now moving away from such similarity and is instead aligning itself with Tinder, the popular dating app. With about 10 million daily users, Tinder lets you quickly find and choose dates based on user preferences. With the a focus being quick and easy, Tinder is dating on-demand. MealPal hopes to replicate Tinder’s success by making the mundane act of looking for and ordering lunch quick and easy. As Tinder lets you swipe “yes” or “no” on a potential date, MealPal now lets you swipe to choose ingredients.
The swipe tool changes the customer experience—the movement makes users feel as if they are making decisions quickly, aligning with their interest in saving time. The focus of MealPal becomes efficiency over number of options.
The revamped name includes the term “Pal,” which is one of the new features MealPal rolled out with the rebrand. “Pal” is a smart bot that manages the ingredients that users can swipe on. As “Pal” learns about users’ likes and dislikes, it is able to give customized meal recommendations. MealPal recognizes that its target audience is more interested in saving time when ordering food than having more options to peruse, and “Pal” takes on the job of catering to personal tastes. Recommendations reduce the time spent looking for the perfect meal. Everything ties back to the revamped value proposition.
Understanding your customers is a crucial step toward growth. MealPal knows why and how people use popular on-demand services like Tinder, and by employing a similar business model, the company can easily communicate its offering. By better understanding users’ needs and building a brand position that reflects them, MealPal has created an experience that executes on those needs. With customers at the center, MealPal can continue to grow as a brand and a business.
—David Weinberg is an Associate Consultant, Strategy, for Interbrand