Montclair’s Jason Milleisen wants to feed you. He also wants to help local restaurants weather the current challenges that limit indoor dining and group celebrations. That’s why Milleisen created Montclair Meal Kits, which organizes restaurants around Montclair to offer fully cooked, ready-to-heat meals for locals. He hopes that it will increase customers and provide reliable revenue for the restaurants and their employees while helping Montclair avoid asking “What’s for dinner?” 

Milleisen was concerned at seeing some of his favorite eateries struggle throughout 2020, sometimes closing for good. Due to the lack of allowable indoor eating space, take-out and delivery have been a lifeline for small businesses and a boon for families stuck in the routine of staying at home and restricting social gatherings. One sticking point has been the sizable fee for restaurants when using some popular delivery platforms. Milleisen’s venture removes the usual fees for restaurants found in third-party apps while allowing families to plan for weekly meals within a variety of budgets and household sizes. 

A beta-test of the system happened during the last week of December, and Montclair Meal Kits is currently taking orders for its full launch. Sign up for the MMK email list to get weekly ordering reminders and hear about new restaurants and dishes. Read on answers to some basic questions about how it works for both customers and restaurants.

Already sold on the idea? Get your order in here!

Some of the restaurants participating in Montclair Meal Kits.

How is Montclair Meal Kits (MMK) different from regular restaurant delivery for customers? 

Food arrives cooked, but cold. It’s meant to be reheated during the week at your convenience. The order deadline is on Thursday, and your meals arrive once a week, on Sunday or Monday, depending on volume. Customers can choose from several restaurants within each order. The $9.99 delivery fee is consistent whether you order from one restaurant or all of them. 

Can I make substitutions? 

Not at this time. If you have a favorite dish from one of our restaurants, let them know you’d love to order it through MMK! Keep in mind that the dishes should lend themselves to re-heating.

Will new restaurants be added? Can I make a suggestion for my favorite area restaurant? 

Yes! Feel free to mention Montclair Meal Kits to area restaurants, and email MMK here with suggestions. Restaurant owners can contact MMK directly here.

More restaurants participating in Montclair Meal Kits.

What about more vegetarian/vegan, Kosher, gluten-free, options? 

MMK is leaving the menu items up to restaurants right now, but contact MMK here, and they’ll pass suggestions along.

Do I interact with the delivery person? How do I know when my Montclair Meal Kit has been delivered? 

The delivery person will leave your entire order at the doorstep and ring the doorbell; there doesn’t need to be a face-to-face handoff. Customers will get a notice when their order is out for delivery, and they’ll get another notice when it’s been delivered. 

If there is a delivery fee, why is Montclair Meal Kits (MMK) asking for tips? 

Tips are completely optional! The focus is helping restaurants, especially during the upcoming winter by alleviating all costs for their participation. However, the delivery fee doesn’t cover all of MMK costs associated with maintaining the logistics, like credit card processing, the software platform, and any delivery costs not covered by the $9.99. Allowing customers to order from several restaurants in one order minimizes separate delivery fees for everyone. A quick comparison of fees from other delivery apps shows that fees are lower for customers as well as totally gone for restaurants.

We asked Jason Milleisen how he hopes to benefit from Montclair Meal Kits. He answered, “I’ve worked in the restaurant business, and I know how difficult it is to turn a profit during “normal” times. I  want to help out local restaurants get orders without charging them like those other companies. It remains to be seen if I’m going to make any money on this. My goal is actually just to break even and help restaurants survive the winter.”

Maintaining a true #ShopLocal focus, Milleisen’s creative venture in Montclair Meal Kits will hopefully allow Montclair residents to help their favorite eateries not just survive, but thrive throughout 2021.