Prepared meal services have taken off a bit in the past year, usually with a healthy focus. In the past we have covered places like Crave and Clean Eatery, both of which offer prepared meal subscriptions that are built to work within your fitness plan. While there are some big differences between the two, both follow a fairly standard model. Then we discovered a new startup, Dayjenay, that looks to break the model completely.
The other delivery services focus on replacing some or all of your meals for the week. Crave gives you one delivery of 7-21 meals each week, while Clean Eatery delivers a couple of meals every day 4 days a week. Regardless each are prepped then refrigerated to eat sometime later and usually delivered at a time when you are not going to be eating.
Dayjenay, whose name comes from a phonetic spelling of déjeuner, takes a slightly different approach. They currently have two daily meal options and are delivered hot during your lunch hour, and are made to be eaten immediately. It makes the service more of a cross between Chef Shuttle and a meal service.
“We really want to build the service, at first at least, for people working in offices who cannot get out for lunch,” owner Matt Price tells us. “We make the food fresh to order between 11 and 1 each day, and deliver in about 20 minutes from the time you place the order.”
Right now delivery is limited to downtown, Argenta, Riverdale, and the UAMS campus to help ensure delivery times as the service scales, other areas will be included later.
Currently there are two meal options a day to pick from. Each are on the healthy side, but are much more approachable for the average person than the healthy meal prep services out there. There is no cauliflower rice or strange gluten-free tortillas here, it is much closer to something I would order if I went out for lunch, not something that I have to quickly wash down with water while I tell myself it is good for me. That is a big advantage that Dayjenay is going to have in earning my lunch money.
Speaking of, for a delivered item the prices are reasonable. From the few days of looking everything is in the $10-13 range, and that includes delivery. It makes it a far cheaper option than Chef Shuttle, where you are going to spend $20 after delivery fees and driver tips. It is right around the price of the other meal prep services, but you get it warm and at a time you want to eat it.
We gave it a go at the office yesterday and got a shrimp enchilada and a chicken poblano. Both were served with rice and veggies. Even ordering toward the end of the delivery time frame (it was delivered about 1:15) the meals were still very warm and fresh. Dayjenay put the time into package design as well so the food stays warm without becoming soggy from the steam.
“We meticulously researched containers to find something that would meet our needs and deliver the best food,” Price explains. “These are vented to release the steam so the food stays hot, but still fresh. They are also microwavable and reusable, so if you cannot eat right away, or only eat a portion of it, you can warm it up later.”
They release the new menu items for the day every morning, and work with a local chef to produce the meals using local ingredients when possible. Currently there are two items available (today it is Mahi Mahi tacos and pulled pork quesadilla), but they plan to expand to add at least a third option soon. Currently you have to order each day, but Price did say that they are considering lunch subscription options in the future.
Overall Dayjenay is certainly worth checking out. It is better and easier than other meal prep services, considerably cheaper than Chef Shuttle, and way better than that turkey sandwich you probably packed.