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Home Bistro Review

Monday, December 5th

2022 Prepared Meal Reviews

Home Bistro Review 1.5 Star Rating

Home Bistro

1.5 Star Rating
  • Prices range from $7 (desserts) to $19
  • Sold individually or in packages of 5-20
  • Recipes by celebrity chefs like Ayesha Curry, Cat Cora, Daina Falk, Claudia Sandoval, Richard Blais and others
  • Meals are ready in 2 minutes or less (microwave)
  • No contracts or commitments

A restaurant-quality meal you can microwave? That's the idea behind Home Bistro's prepared meals, which in recent years have expanded to include recipes by Ayesha Curry, Cat Cora, Richard Blais, and other top chefs. Heat them in the microwave for two minutes or 12-14 minutes in the oven and you're good to go.

Strange site issues

We were glad to get a pop-up discount as we browsed the Home Bistro site, giving us 10^% off on our first order if we provided our email address. At the top of the page, we initially saw a promo sale of $15 meals storewide and $20 for shipping - but the date on the sale was three days earlier (and thus shouldn't have been visible). Then, after we were shopping for a while, the promo switched to announce that all Home Bistro meals were now priced at $19, all the time. It didn't really give us much confidence in the professional nature of this prepared meal provider.

Not an intuitive customer experience

That impression continued as we tried to sign up to order meals here. There's not a lot of direction offered to help you know how to shop. Should you start with a chef? What if you don't know any of them? What's the difference between a SUPERBowl and Chef's Choice? Even when you choose one of those (maybe at random?), you're not given any options for sorting them by ingredients (like allergens you can't have), preferences for meat vs. seafood vs. vegetarian, and so on.

Best Sellers package is an easy starting point

One way to avoid all the confusion and just get started with Home Bistro's prepared meals is by choosing the Best Sellers package of 10 meals for $166. This gets you one serving each of the following:

  • Mediterranean Chicken with Orange Honey Labneh sauce, Israeli Couscous, and Honey Roasted Carrots
  • Lemon-Caper Piccata Steak with Roasted Garlic Marbled Potatoes and Tunisian Cauliflower Gratin
  • Chianti-Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Garlic Marbled Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
  • Chicken and Fruit Kebabs with Lemon Caper Piccata Sauce, Risotto, and Brussels Sprouts
  • Spicy Harissa Roasted Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Marble Potatoes and Chermoula Cauliflower Gratin
  • Lemon-Caper Salmon with Lentil Rice and Brussels Sprouts
  • Fire-Grilled Chicken Romesco with Herbed Risotto and Spicy Chili Broccoli
  • Spanish Cod with Risotto and Mediterranean Tapenade
  • Peri-Peri Pork Tenderloin with Pecorino Romano Orzo and Spicy Chili Broccoli
  • Turkey and Vegetable Kabob with Pecorino Romano Sauce, Lentil Rice, and Spicy Chili Broccoli

Click on any meal to read the nutrition facts and ingredients list, check the heating instructions, or see any available customer comments on the meal.

A la carte is also an option

If you'd rather just try a few meals at a time, Home Bistro lets you buy them a la carte. You'll pay more that way, but if the new banner was accurate, it'll never be more than $19. As we went to check out, we were also invited to add desserts to our order at a 10% discount.

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Shipping is expensive and depends on your order

You won't know how much you're paying for shipping until you go to check out - and it's not likely to be cheap. For that 10-meal sampler we described earlier, we were quoted a delivery fee of $24.89 for Priority Overnight via FedEx. Your costs may be different.

What do customers really think?

If you look just at the "verified buyer" ratings on Home Bistro's website, they're all four- and five-star scores. Hmmm, filtered, maybe? Who knows, maybe that switch to celebrity recipes really has boosted the food quality of these prepared meals? We had a hard time finding any recent comments outside of the HB site, however. The BBB lists Home Bistro as out of business, and its parent company DineWise is simply listed as "Not Rated" .

Is "all sales final" how you really want to go?

Up until this point, we might have still given Home Bistro a tentative recommendation. But, since their approach to customer satisfaction is still "all sales are final" , we just can't. Yes, you can add "Route package protection" to your purchase, but most reputable companies will automatically help you if your order is lost, damaged or stolen en route. Why should you have to pay extra for that? We're equally unimpressed that Home Bistro tells you that you only have 24 hours from the delivery date to report a problem. What if you go to eat a meal two days later and find that it's spoiled? "All sales final" ? That's a huge negative compared with rival providers of prepared meals who want you to feel like your business matters - and who work with you until you're satisfied when there's an issue.

Difficult to reach Home Bistro support

And, to top it off, you're going to have to hope that your message to Home Bistro through Facebook, Instagram, or the online form on their website actually gets somewhere - because they don't provide a customer service phone number. Good luck if you have a serious food safety issue. You can always try the contact email that's somewhat hidden in Home Bistro's FAQ, but...

Avoid these prepared meals

It should be obvious why Home Bistro is our lowest-ranked provider of prepared meals. They're one of the most expensive companies we evaluated, and they don't offer the customer reassurance and support we'd expect for a $19 meal. Don't waste your time or money here.

Which Prepared Meal Company is the Best?

We've all got so many tools at our disposal these days when it comes to mealtime: the traditional drive-thru run on our way home, getting our groceries delivered by Instacart, or even having our favorite take-out brought right to our house by DoorDash or UberEats. But, let's face it: many of those options are unhealthy, expensive, or both. And even with getting our shopping done online and our supermarket hauls delivered, we still have to do the cooking. Ugh!

Fortunately, prepared meal companies can help you eat healthy at the end of a hectic day (or even on the job). These aren't your average grocery store TV dinners, either. Sure, you can opt for frozen meals if you prefer, particularly for longer-term storage, but you've also got the option of having freshly-made, refrigerated meals that only need to be heated for a few minutes in the microwave.

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Prepared Meal FAQ

Prepared meal subscriptions are popular for the same reason your favorite fast food joint has a long line at the drive-through at dinnertime: they're convenient! Imagine never having to go grocery shopping again! However, most people who subscribe to a prepared meals plan use it to supplement their regular cooking rather than replacing every single meal (e.g. just for a few dinners a week, for all weekend meals, etc.).
That depends on the service you select. Some specialize in reheat-and-eat meals similar to a traditional TV dinner, while others deliver all of the ingredients you need to prepare the recipes they provide. There are also options for holiday meals, special occasion dinners, plus sides and desserts if you want to impress the crowd at your next office potluck - without having to do the work yourself!
Two words: convenience and taste. Would you rather come home to another dinner of ramen or PB&J, or to a box of fresh ingredients that you can pull together into a restaurant-quality meal in just a few minutes? Subscribing to a prepared meals service can help you get out of your fast food rut, spare you the agony of yet another week of meal planning and grocery shopping, or just add some welcome variety to your eating habits.
You might be surprised. Most prepared meal services let you see customer comments on each dish - while some might not have been a huge favorite, most have hundreds (if not thousands) of rave reviews. And, if you're not known for being terribly creative or skilled in the kitchen, prepared meals can help you get out of your comfort zone and expand your taste horizons.
It will definitely cost more than if you bought all of the ingredients and prepared them yourself. But, the per-meal cost is typically less than what you'd spend in a restaurant. Expect a cost-per-serving somewhere between $8 and $12, depending on the plan you select.
Most services offering prepared meals have several options to choose from, either as an overall plan (like vegan or gluten-free) or on a meal-by-meal basis where you choose from a menu of meals for the month and can avoid any ingredients that you prefer not to have.
Unfortunately, most prepared meal plans aren't going to be affordable if you're feeding a crowd every night. There are a few that cater to larger families (or that have more portions per delivery so that you can have leftovers, feed houseguests, etc.). These services even have some menus that are designed to be more kid-friendly.
That depends on the service. If your meals arrive in bad condition - rotten ingredients, thawed meals that were supposed to be frozen at the time of delivery, and so forth - you'll usually get a refund or a replacement. A few providers of prepared meals offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee with a refund or store credit, regardless of the reason.
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Continued from above...

Prepared meals are especially useful if you're trying to follow a special diet. Getting used to "going keto" , managing diabetes-friendly foods, or knowing what to eat on a renal diet can be frustrating and time-consuming. When you choose a prepared meal company, it relieves some of that burden from your shoulders - until you feel confident doing it on your own, or for as long as you like.

Some customers order prepared meals to help out in a time of need. For families of seniors who are struggling to get adequate nutrition - because they can't get to the store, their mobility or cognition is impaired, or they've got other challenges - these services offer them the peace of mind that their loved ones are consistently getting meals that are well-balanced and easy to prepare.

How does it work? Many companies require you to sign up for a recurring subscription: you choose the number of meals per week and the servings per meal, and they'll be delivered regularly unless you pause the plan, skip a particular delivery, or cancel the service. Others allow you to place orders as needed, but you'll often pay a higher per-serving cost for a la carte prepared meals.

Not sure which provider to pick? Don't worry. Here are a several criteria you can use to narrow down the options for prepared meals:

  • Fresh or Frozen. Do you have a preference? Keep in mind that most meals that are delivered fresh can still be put in the freezer for at least a few weeks.
  • Preferred Menu. Are you trying to follow a particular eating plan, like a weight loss diet or a strictly vegan lifestyle? Choose the prepared meal company that has recipes you'll actually want to eat.
  • Flexibility. Will you need to commit to a delivery schedule? If so, how easy is it to change days or skip a shipment? Can the meals be modified to be more to your liking, such as changing fish for chicken or adding more protein? Are there any extras you can add to your box, to save you a trip to the store?
  • Value. How much will you pay per meal, and how does that compare with what you'd normally spend at the store? Is it worth the cost for the convenience you'll get? Are there any discounts or other ways to save money?
  • Customer feedback. What do people say about the prepared meals and the company providing them? Does everything arrive well-chilled or still-frozen, or are there problems with thawed ice packs and other delivery issues? How's the taste? Does the company's customer service team handle problems poorly or professionally?

TopConsumerReviews.com has made it easier for you to find the right prepared meal company for your needs, by evaluating and ranking today's most popular services. We hope that this information will help you spot the perfect menu and take advantage of this fantastic time-saver. Let's eat!

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