Discounted meal delivery service serves up inflation-busting prices

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- Don't let inflation ruin your appetite.

An under-the-radar player in the meal delivery business hopes to turn the business model of high commissions on its head. Consumers could end up the winners in the end by saving those precious dollars.

From food prices at the grocery store to eye-popping gas prices, many consumers have had to adjust their budgets to keep up.

Karisa Plurad of Alameda and says she no longer can afford to pay for gas and the bridge toll to drive across the San Mateo Bridge to see her friends.

"That's how it's affected me. It keeps me from traveling to certain places," said Plurad.

One area where she has been able to save money is on lunch and dinner.

She has lunch delivered to her at 50% off the regular price.

"This is way more affordable and it's the right amount for me. Like, I just order from Club Feast," she said.

Club Feast is a relatively new food delivery service based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Competitors charge restaurants commissions as well as tack on a delivery fee paid by the customer.

"How can we pivot that model in a way that can be more affordable? How can we get people who are spending money on groceries to actually consider supporting the local business of these restaurants?" said Grant Harvey, Head of Sales at Club Feast.

Club Feast acts as a wholesaler or reseller of the restaurant meal.

That model requires customers to order the night before for lunch and before 2:30 for dinner. In exchange, Harvey says they can get on average 30% off their meal.

"We have no commission fees. We talked to the restaurants transparently. 'OK, if we pay you this flat rate, does that work for this meal?' Then what we do, we offer that savings to the customer. It's all about incentives," Harvey said.

For restaurants like Chisme Cantina, those incentives are working.

The restaurant accepts lower profit margins on each meal, but have seen the number of meals they serve each day increase.

"We're shooting for a much higher volume at a discounted rate, which the outcome would still be better," said Ray Shlimon of Chisme Cantina.

Chisme Cantina says it has seen its business grow faster with Club Feast than from other delivery services.

Shlimon says the earlier orders allow him to staff his kitchen more efficiently.

"Everything is preset the day before or the morning of, which is totally OK. But it's predetermined. I know what's coming," he said.

For Plurad, it's a model that works.

"I pay like less than 10 dollars every time I order delivery," she said.

Club Feast began operating in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2020 and right now works with some 200 restaurants in the area. It also recently opened in its second market, New York.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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