Toronto’s new food app lets customers eat more and restaurants waste less

Published On May 30, 2018 | By maheenmalik | Arts & Entertainment, Food, Lifestyle, News

Maheen Malik

Dumpster divers may need to find a new city because a Toronto food app is helping restaurants get rid of inefficient food waste whilst giving customers up to 60% off their meals.

The Feedback app is changing the way Toronto eats.

Co-founder cousins Josh and Ben Walters have only one main goal, to help reduce wasted food in the city and to give back through charity, and that is exactly what their app does.

Restaurants have the option of selling discounted dishes on the app that usually would be thrown out during slow hours of the day. Most leftover food is usually dumped at by closing time, but Feedback let’s these restaurants sell the food at an even higher discount to customers. This way shop owners can make an extra buck, while helping decrease the amount of food waste in Toronto.

The many promises the Feedback app is making, has gotten people asking what’s the catch.

“There is no catch, except that you would only receive a discount at off times of the day,” Josh Walters, co-founder of Feedback, told Humber News.

“The idea for the app actually happened when I went for some late night pizza, ” he said. “The owner of the restaurant was closing up shop as we were finishing our meal and he offered us all of the pizza that he had left for close to nothing, because he was going to throw it out otherwise.”

This reminded Walters that a ton of food gets wasted all over the world each night at restaurants that sell less than anticipated. After some research, the cousins discovered that the problem of food waste was much larger than they had expected.

“We were blown away by the magnitude of the problem and decided to try and create this app that would be a win-win-win for everyone,” said Walters.

The idea began as a sale at the end of the day with participating restaurants but has evolved since its birth. As the app grows, the company is researching new ways to create a better platform for its users. A recent update to the app allows restaurants to not only sell extra food at the end of the day but also during slow hours.

“We realized that the reason for this large amount of food waste is due to the unpredictable demand that restaurants face,” he said.

Walters compared the situation to other markets such as airlines and hotels. Prices will usually fluctuate in these industries depending on demand. Restaurants, he said, have a busy lunch rush and a busy dinner rush and not much in-between. However, they still have an unpredictable demand curve with standard pricing and they don’t do enough to mitigate off-peak hours. Due to this, restaurants end up with a lot of waste not just at the end but all throughout the day, said Walters.

“Feedback now offers time and quality specific promotions based on a number of factors throughout the day,” he said. “They’re inviting people that don’t wanna go to the restaurant during the rush and when it’s not as busy they can actually pay less.”

The company is also looking into incorporating bad weather days into their promotion. Walters is looking into getting food discounted on days with a really bad snowstorm, rain, etc. This way restaurants that usually may not see demand on these off days, are still able to make a sale. At the same time, those who are willing to be out in the bad weather get a steep discount for their effort.

Apart from discounted food, the Feedback app also features an “Impact” tab. Partnering with charities like Second Harvest and Feed it Forward, the company is finding a way to donate food to those in need. Feedback donates a percentage of what is purchased by users to its partnered charities to help more people get access to food. Users can not only save money on a meal but also help donate to those in need. Whenever a customer makes a purchase, it gets counted in the Impact tab of the app as a saved meal (as it otherwise would have been dumped). The amount of meals a user saves, the price of these meals are donated to partnering charities. The Impact tab works on a get a meal, donate a meal basis. The goal is, to have more food going to people in need, and less to the landfills.

Since the starting of the app, the Walters cousins have seen a large growth of restaurants getting involved in the initiative.

Odile Chocolat, a small chocolate shop on Dundas St W is one of the 250 restaurants, cafes, and shops that have partnered with Feedback.

“I really like the concept, I haven’t been with Feedback for long but I think this could and should be something really big in Toronto one day,” Odile Chatelain, the owner of Odile Chocolat told Humber News.

Still in its beginning phases, the app is still being developed and perfected. According to Walters, the company will start to do more marketing and promotions to get the word out with one of their first promotions being an invite a friend deal. App users can invite friends to join the app in return for food credit on their accounts.

The offer will be launching in two weeks time, said Walters.

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