July 07, 2014

lunch disappointment - Meal Box

my neighborhood has a new kitchen with delivery service, with a "different" concept. Meal Box. actually i think they are a chain as they have at least 1 more location in Istanbul. their tagline in is english "gourmet home delivery". sounds tasty? very stylish look, too. and great photos of what looks like gourmet meals (below. i ordered via yemeksepeti which has the same images).

but it fails to mention anywhere that their concept is MICROWAVE food. i love microwave meals, when i buy it cheap and prepare it myself. as a sidenote, ironically turkey does not have microwave meals in grocery stores (the occasional expensive imported box in a huge Carrefour does not count). now i paid a normal restaurant price for a lunch that was microwaved. and i still wouldnt mind, if somehow, magically, it was tasty. and a bit cheaper.

what a fail! and i failed to take a photo of the meal itself. i just wondered how on earth did it look like a microwave meal with the plastic seal on top, and only when i asked a friend online whom i knew was familiar with the company, did i find out that its exactly what it looks (and tastes) like. she had also tried the food and was not impressed for the same reasons; taste & price.

so i feel like something has gone wrong here. firstly, the branding doesn't match reality - i am sure if you scour the website you will find that they have a famous, renown chef planning these meals, which are them heated upon order, but the first impression is that they make nice gourmet food and are focused on home delivery. to me, "meal box" does not immediately communicate microwave food, and i seriously suspect a large portion of the customers even recognize both of the english words in the name. ok, not important. the word "taze" (fresh) keeps showing up here and there too, i see the point but without the microwave info its going the wrong way...  its a communication fail, imho.

another thing gone wrong is the pricing. turks value freshly (home and restaurant) cooked food highly, and while this stuff is - i believe - directed at the more educated class that adores everything western, i am still not sure a turk would line up to pay "normal" prices for food that is not *really* fresh, and does not add some other value. halving the price would do, the current prices are comparable to those of other restaurants. in richer areas i could see them being cheaper than average even now, by 10-20%, but i dont think thats enough. to me it looks like im paying for the fancy chef and plenty of carton in the form of fancy packaging. yet the chicken noodles i ate were watery, and with years of experience, i can really say - microwavy. yeah they might use a real, speedy oven to heat the food, i dont know, but its all the same to me.

ill add that the food was not bad per se, just an average m.w. meal - with a good amount of chicken though. i would love to see them sell these packaged meals in my next door grocery, for about 6tl/meal. having paid 10.75tl (3,7 eur) for home delivery, i am not happy.

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