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Larissa Weinstein, AMD ’17, is a current CAMD student from Coral Gables, FL. When she’s not focused on Media and Screen Studies courses, Weinstein is also the founder and CEO of The Lunch Report, a daily newsletter featuring lunch specials at restaurants in a variety of Boston’s hot neighborhoods. We recently sat down and asked her a few questions about how she started this venture, and what her plans are for the future.

Tell us about The Lunch Report and what your inspiration was behind it?

I was inspired by the tomato soup at Flour – it’s my favorite and I wanted to know when they had it! The Lunch Report is an email newsletter about daily lunch specials in five Boston neighborhoods. Specials are menu items that change daily, such as a Soup of the Day, and the five neighborhoods are Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the South End, the Financial District, and the Seaport. The idea is that working professionals in these neighborhoods know what’s on the regular menus at restaurants near their offices, but the specials change every day and there was no easy way to find that information in one place until now. The Lunch Report is a simple solution that condenses the specials from various eateries into one email per neighborhood, sent out at 10:30 am on the day the menu items are available. My mission is to make office lunch breaks happier and easier.

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A sample of The Lunch Report email that our CAMD office gets everyday!

Tell us about the process of setting up The Lunch Report.

I toyed with the idea of making an app, but gravitated toward email for two reasons: I don’t know how to code an app on my own, and more importantly, I think we’re returning to email. In a time of countless competing social media platforms, emails are a welcome reprieve from the high-tech. It’s why theSkimm has seen so much success with their morning newsletters of the daily top news stories. Why check multiple individual social media handles when all of the information could be delivered in one email? Once I decided on a medium, I set up spreadsheets of all the restaurants in the five neighborhoods, plus a spreadsheet of food trucks. I collected as much research as I could, ranging from contact information to whether or not the restaurant even offered lunch specials. I knew that the food trucks could be included regardless of special menu items because their locations changed daily, making their presence a special in itself. I started off sending cold emails asking restaurants and food trucks if they wanted to be included, and then I went out canvassing the neighborhoods and talking to restaurant managers and chefs in person. I landed my first press piece in BostInno, and a reporter from saw it and reached out to me. She wrote a great story that ran the week before my launch and garnered a lot of attention and new subscribers. On January 25th, I sent out my first newsletters. I didn’t have as many restaurants and food trucks as I wanted for all the neighborhoods, but I decided that if I waited for the perfect time to launch, I would never launch. So I went for it and continued to build my content as I went. I’ve been adding more restaurants and tweaking the format over the past month- the biggest development was changing the format from a menu organized by type of dish to a listing of menus organized by restaurant/food truck. This past Friday (February 19) I sent out my 100th newsletter!

It takes some patience to recognize that I won’t make leaps and bounds every single day, and that’s okay.

What is your vision and goal for The Lunch Report moving forward?

My main goals for the immediate future are to gain more subscribers, keep my open rates strong, and continue to provide useful content every morning. This means getting more restaurants and food trucks on board, and encouraging my existing subscribers to share the newsletters with friends and coworkers who could also become subscribers. A happy current subscriber is my best advocate for getting future subscribers! In the longer term, I plan to sell sponsorships for the newsletters, and eventually I would like to launch a supplement of exclusive offers for my subscribers. The supplement would cost a small monthly fee to subscribers, but the exclusive offers would save them much more than the cost of the subscription. The main newsletter would remain free.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who wants to go forward with their own project?

My mantra this past month has been, “Practice and all is coming.” It’s a phrase that is often used in yoga, but as with many tidbits of yogic philosophy it can be applied to everything in life. For my company, I take it to mean that I just have to keep going, while keeping in mind that I have to be patient when seeking results. I send out five newsletters every weekday morning, and there are definitely some days that sending out the newsletters is the only forward progress that I make that day. It takes some patience to recognize that I won’t make leaps and bounds every single day, and that’s okay.

Subscribe to The Lunch Report today and make your lunch break easier!