Josh Walters is the co-founder and CMO of the Feedback App. The app helps restaurants reduce food waste, finds them hungry customers and enables them to give back too. It’s a Win/Win/Win for everyone involved.
We chatted with Josh about how he got the idea, what we should know about food waste and some advice for anyone looking to build a socially and environmentally conscious business.
WEHL: Tell us a little about yourself and why you became interested in reducing food waste.
JW: Late night pizza. It all started when I went for late night pizza and just before close the owner offered me free full 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.
After that experience, I started to see food waste everywhere: coffee shops, bakeries, sushi restaurants, salad bars. The amount of prepared food sitting out on shelves was astonishing.
WEHL: What is Feedback?
JW: Feedback is a mobile platform that uses smart-pricing to offer exclusive prices and reduce food waste at your favorite restaurants.
Basically, as a user, you can log into the app and search through a list of restaurants offering time and quantity specific promotions from 20-70% off. You order through the app and show up to the restaurant at a certain time to collect the food!
The promotions aren’t only end-of-day but restaurant owners use the app to offer time-specific deals during off-peak hours (generally surrounding the lunch and dinner rushes).
Feedback matches purchases through the app with meal donations to locals in need through a partnership with Second Harvest. We started doing this because when dealing with the issue of food waste the issue of food insecurity is very hard to ignore. It seems crazy that so much food is wasted each day and there are still so many people who don’t have enough food to eat.
WEHL: How many restaurants do you currently have on board?
WEHL: How many meals have your rescued and donated?
JW: We’ve rescued over 8200 meals, and donated over 2000.
WEHL: What other community organizations have you partnered with and why?
JW: Our major charity partner is Second Harvest. They supply fresh healthy food to tons of different agencies across Toronto and we donate a portion of proceeds from ever order to them.
WEHL: Why is global food waste such a big problem?
JW: Over $31 billion of food was wasted in Canada alone last year. That’s a crazy amount! Food that ends up in landfills breaks down, releasing a harmful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, resulting in climate change. Reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to combat climate change.
WEHL: What plans do you have to continue to grow the Feedback app?
JW: We want to become more sophisticated and data-driven with our pricing. You can think of it as ‘reverse-surge pricing’ at restaurants. If we can match supply with demand throughout the day by changing price, we can help restaurants order and staff better, resulting in increased profits, and the reduction of food waste.
WEHL: Why do you think that your app has been so successful so far?
JW: I think that people are more aware now than ever of social and environmental issues, and they’re willing to take steps in the right direction. Also, who doesn’t love cheap food! We’re the only food app that offers discounted prices at restaurants when you combine that with the social good. It’s a no-brainer.
WEHL: Do you have any advice for an entrepreneur who’s interested in building a socially and environmentally conscious business?
JW: Ya sure, I would say that it’s extremely important to listen to your early customers and make sure you’re tailoring your product or service to their needs so that they have the best experience possible. Make your product something that they’ll want to tell people about. Word of mouth is the best way to grow, and with a socially conscious business, the more people involved the larger the impact you can have!
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