What if you could order and pick up sushi, a burger, or salad, from one of your favorite nearby restaurants for as little as $2.50 at the end of the night, while at the same time, helping decrease the huge amount of food that gets wasted every year?
The restaurant makes a little extra profit with minimal effort and unused uneaten food transforms from food waste to a legit meal.
That’s the brilliant idea behind Food For All, a new mobile app currently beta testing and making broke college students very happy in Boston. In reality, most users are between age 20-30 and are students or entrepreneurs.
The app fills a very specific need — to stop restaurants from contributing to the 133 billion pounds of food that’s thrown away each year, slowly decaying, emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year. It’s also $161 billion dollars worth of food lost. Forever.
The team behind Food for All just launched a Kickstarter campaign called “Save & Eat,” which will help them confirm if their business model works, finish up details of the app, and achieve their plans to launch in New York in May 2017. So far they’ve raised over $2,000 of their $50,000 goal.
There are plenty of initiatives, and apps to help restaurants, catered business lunches, and households donate unused food. However, David Rodríguez, CEO at Food for All, argues these are not sustainable models for nonprofits or restaurants.
Food for All stands aparts, Rodriguez argues, because it provides incentives on both sides for customers and restaurants to participate, and can help fill the gap when nonprofits can’t afford to stop by restaurants to redistribute food.
“While we do partner with nonprofits to donate food, they don't come every day, because there are logistical expenses. They come once or twice a week. Food for All allow us to reduce the amount of food we waste,” said one of the thirty restaurants participating in the Boston prototype app.
Their mission is to “reduce food waste in the US by providing leftover food from restaurants, cafés, and bakeries for sale at a cheaper price.” That cheaper price could be 80% less than restaurants daily price.
Restaurants can choose when to participate, so they can still donate unused food or sign up to sell it a very discounted price between 40-80% less than usual prices.
The app keeps information vague so you can order a sandwich, salad, or pizza, but you won’t know exactly what kind until you pick it up. Food for All’s reasoning here is to keep customers who want to help combat food waste separate from those who want to order specific meals from restaurants.
"It's a three way win for the customers, the restaurants and the environment. At the end of the day we all benefit," said one user.
The mobile app was developed in collaboration with the Sustainable Technologies and Health program at the Harvard T.H Chan Center for Health and the Global Environment.
On a larger scale, Food For All aims to make a social impact on how businesses and consumers view food waste.
“Our mission is to build social awareness regarding food waste,” Rodríguez told Global Citizen. “We allow people to make a major social impact by buying great food from restaurants; food which used to be considered leftovers and thrown away at the end of the day.”
The app itself will be easy to use. It’s a three-step process, simpler even than Seamless and a lot less expensive.
1. Download the app and search delicious deals nearby
2. Purchase a discounted meal that would otherwise be food waste
3. Pick up your meal choice at restaurant closing time
Order complete, indeed.
Images courtesy Food for All.