Photo by Brendan Ward

MealMe, an app that compares takeout food prices, is set to become available at the University of Maine on Feb. 22. This app compares the prices from popular food delivery apps like DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats to ensure that customers will get the best deal when they order food.  Since food delivery is on the rise as COVID-19 presents challenges with eating indoors at a restaurant, this is a resource that college students can use when they are looking to eat out safely and inexpensively. Students have the ability to download the app now, but MealMe is focusing on boosting community engagement and student outreach in the greater Bangor area starting on Feb. 22, giving students access to way more delicious and affordable options. 

 

MealMe’s co-founder and President Matthew Bouchner compared MealMe to a search engine for the food delivery industry. The company and app are based out of San Francisco, California but they are looking to expand their app’s usage nationwide. 

 

“Users can check out in MealMe, so they no longer need all of the individual delivery and takeout apps. MealMe further decreases delivery prices and saves restaurants money by allowing users to order delivery or takeout directly from restaurants that have their own delivery couriers and pickup systems. The service also recommends restaurants nearby based on individual preferences and displays all relevant information about the restaurant including ratings, the menu and pictures,” Bouchner said.

 

Bouchner shared that MealMe was created in 2016 when he had the idea to make a social network for ordering food by pictures and making reservations through the same app. After being accepted into the Emory University accelerator program in 2018, he met Will Said and the pair launched a beta version of the app which they only shared with friends and family. Said later became a higher-up at MealMe and is invested in the app to this day. 

 

This app is a hit at colleges nationwide and currently serves around 20 different campuses nationwide. Students can have food delivered to their dorm rooms through this app, and best of all, the app is free to download and available on the Apple app store. It remains unclear when the app will become available on other types of smartphones. 

 

Currently, the app organizes restaurants by categories like lowest fees or fastest delivery times. Popular restaurants like McDonald’s, Applebee’s and Five Guys are all featured on MealMe. With the launch of the app specifically in the Orono area, Bouchner hopes that more local restaurants can be featured on MealMe to promote local businesses which have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unclear which local businesses are interested in participating, but all restaurants that deliver food would be able to list their services on MealMe.

 

Additionally, MealMe is looking to hire college students for many positions including software engineering interns, customer service representatives and student ambassadors to promote MealMe both locally and nationally.  With the growing popularity of food delivery apps in the greater Bangor area, it is sure to be an instant  hit amongst UMaine students.