Mealeo: Ordering food locally online

mealeo_logo.jpgSo the other day a combination of hunger and laziness led to a pretty neat discovery.

Actually, we'd heard about Mealeo, the local online food delivery service, but we finally got around to trying it.

We ordered from Shining Rainbow on Central Avenue. Actually -- we just went to their website to check out a menu and found an "order online" button at the top. The button took us straight to the Mealeo website.

What we liked:

It was easy.
Even though we had to create an account with a password, it was simple to do and it didn't pull us off track from our goal of stuffing our faces with Chinese food.

We could pay with a credit card.
Often times delivery places leave you scrambling for cash. Here you just plugged in your card number. And you could include the tip.

Special orders are OK.
There's a little box for special instructions which is great if you want things extra spicy, not so spicy, on the side, or -- you know -- just want them the way you want them.

Kinda fun.
This part appealed to the nerd in us -- we could track the order. We knew exactly when it reached the kitchen and when it was finished and on the way.

Fast.
Our food arrived at the downtown office in less than 30 minutes.


What we're wishing for:

More options.
Mealeo is still growing, and owner Blake Hanan says that right now about 200 restaurants are participating from Albany to Lake George. Lots of restaurants let you order pick-up from Mealeo, but if you're looking for dinner delivery right in your 'hood, your options are still a little limited. Hanan says more is coming.

Minimum orders vary from around $5 to around $30. A $30 minimum sounds high, but if you're ordering lunch for the office, it's pretty easy to meet.

You'll also see some higher end restaurants on Mealeo with $200-$300 minimums. That's not so much delivery as catering. Still, if you're ordering dinner for 4 from Dale Miller, you'll easily meet the $200 delivery minimum.

For the most part, there's no extra charge for the service, though if a restaurant doesn't normally accept credit cards, they might charge a 2 or 3 percent fee, but that's uncommon.

Right now Mealeo is a Capital Region only service. Hanan is a graduate of Shen and Siena and wanted to start his business here. There are services like it in larger cities, but he's preparing to expand to other mid-major markets while growing the base here at home.

Bottom line:
We'll use it again.

Comments

Ordered lunch with people from the office through this once. Was the only order that guy ever got through it. He told me they charge him something like $60 a month to use the service, which seems absurd to me. Then he told me Mealeo also takes a percentage of every order, and another percentage of every credit card transaction. It sounds to me like Mealeo is making more money than the company we bought lunch from.

Does anyone remember Luluslist? That site was a similar concept, it allowed you to order online from a bunch of local restaurants. I wonder if the money issues Ethan mentioned ended up being Luluslist's demise, i.e. restaurants thought they were getting charged too much or perhaps LL wasn't charging enough.

I love, love, love Mealeo. I love dithering over my options, combinations, and possibilities. If you live in central Albany, there is a pretty good selection of restaurants, too. It is ridiculously easy and food seems to arrive quickly.

I've used the site/service and I love it! It's easy and like the post says, kinda fun. All I care about is getting the food I ordered, don't really care what fees the restaurant pays or whatever- Ethan, I used to order through campusfood.com and they charged Me (the customer) $.75 every time I ordered. would you rather pay the fees, or have the restaurant pay whatever fees their is for the convenient website - that saves me and the restaurant time, Ethan? Mealeo is free to use.

Mealeo is great for ordering Bros Tacos. Easy and efficient.

I use mealeo a couple times each week. Found it real easy, even received a phone call from their customer service letting me know one of my orders was running behind schedule which I thought was cool. One of the restaurant's I order from told me they pay nothing per month just a percentage of the orders that they receive from mealeo. So maybe they offer different packages, who knows. I personally find it pretty simple and will continue to use.

delivery.com also works for many restaurants in the area.

I've used mealeo.com for months now. I've found a bunch of places we like & now it's become like a traditional thing. When we don't feel like cooking dinner some nights, I just order from a restaurant at the office before I leave, pick it up on the way home (jsut pick it up, because have already paid online) & then we have dinner ready when I walk in the door. We order bagels online every sunday morning, then just go in, cut the line & pick it up, even when the waiting line is out the door!!
As for the comment about a monthly fee, I used to own some restaurants & paying only $60 or whatever it is on a monthly basis would be a steal! I don't know if people realize the costs involved with advertising for restaurants. Just a coupon in a bulk mailer costs around $500-$600, and that's shipped out to 10,000 houses only one time. A one time ad in one of these coupon magazines costs $200 to $1500 & then the restaurant also offers a big % or $ offf. To be a part of an marketing program like mealeo.com which is visible 24/7 for that amount of money seems more than reasonable for a restaurant.

(I just looked in my Mealeo order history) and see that I have ordered through Mealeo 27 times over the last 3 months. Bomber's does it great - the food's ready when I arrive every time. I've also ordered through Ichiban on central ave a bunch of times. Food arrives on time, and already paid for which is nice. if they got every restaurant in albany this would be amazing. Keep up the good work MEaleo, we love the service.

$100 minimum for Moe's to deliver to my house!

Wonder if burritos freeze well...

What I'd really love to see is something like Pink Dot in Los Angeles, they deliver not only prepared meals, but groceries (ahem, beer and wine....) Is that legal in New York? It should be.

@Tim Yes having a delivery grocery store is legal in NY. Fresh direct in NYC is huge, I know a lot of people who do all their gocery shopping that way.

I've been a loyal user of Campusfood for a while, even with the extra fee.

I used to use Luluslist. Once I placed an order with a local pizza place--I don't even remember which one--and it didn't show up. I called an hour later to check on it, and the person who answered the phone sighed and said, "yes, they keep collecting money but don't send us the orders." I don't think that order ever appeared on my credit card statement, though.

I don't know whether this was true.

We are retired and do not go out to eat very often. We also have not orderd any food delivery in the past except for a pizza once in a while.

We have now tried Mealeo and it was great. Just use our credit card for the order and tip. Delivery was prompt and the food was hot and tasty.

Looking forward to using their services in the future.

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