You may have recently opened the Feedback app to see promotions at 150+ restaurants offering everything from burritos and burgers to cold-pressed juices and sushi - all available for pickup at different times throughout the day, and all offered between 20-70% off. So I don’t blame you for wondering, "How on earth does this app help reduce food waste?"
This is a great question and one that requires a short story about how Feedback all began.
As you may or may not know, the Feedback journey began in July 2016 when I walked into a pizzeria late one night. Just before close the owner offered me free pizzas that would have otherwise been thrown away. In that moment, I realized that restaurant owners must face this dilemma all the time - they have prepared food and ingredients that they simply throw away if they can't sell enough before close.
The idea was to build a platform that connected customers like me, with restaurateurs who experience consistent end of day waste. The customers pickup food for a fraction of the regular price, the restaurant owners generate incremental revenue on a sunk cost, and both parties help reduce food waste in the process.
Like most tech companies, the original idea is constantly evolving to provide the most value to our customers, while ensuring we stick to our core principle - the win, win, win.
As we rolled out to more restaurants, our partners began to use the flexible platform to offer time-specific promotions throughout the day. When we spoke with the owners about this, we realized that a lot of these restaurants ‘prep’ ingredients in anticipation of the lunch rush, and experience ‘turnover’ (the industry word for food waste) if those ingredients are left unsold.
Similar to the hotel industry, where websites like Priceline and Hotwire offer lower room prices to ensure that empty rooms don't go to waste -- we aim to use reduced pricing during predictably low-demand times of day to ensure that excess ingredients and restaurant capacity are not wasted.
Nevertheless, some partners are simply looking to drive sales during their quieter 'off-peak' hours, regardless of whether or not they are reducing food waste. In these cases, while we are not directly reducing food waste – we donate a % of each meal to Second Harvest. Second Harvest is an amazing charitable organization, and they're the masters of rescuing and donating food. So a part of every Feedback purchase made is still going towards reducing waste through supporting Second Harvest 😊
In addition to this, we currently flag 'non-waste' menu items, so that they don't count towards the 'meals rescued' tally on the in-app community page. We're actively working on a feature that will make it easy to identify which restaurants, and specific menu items are directly diverting food waste.
In the meantime, enjoy the cheap eats, keep track of your progress on the community page, and share Feedback with your friends! The more people who join in the fight against food waste, the greater the impact we can make.