QSR January 2023


Good toGoonFoodWaste A growing app looks to empower restaurants on a topic vital to the environment, and to guests. B Y I S A B E L L A S H E R K

value, and place it in a surprise bag for a third of that value. “Say you put $15 in surplus food in the bag,” Simmons says. “The user buys it for $4.99 through our app; the business gets money; the user gets a good deal; the world saves the C02 emissions from that food not being thrown away.” Too Good to Go also has an internal sys tem that brands have access to, which manages inventory quantity. Partners can change the number of surprise bags available to be sold depending on how much surplus food there is each day. Every quarter, brands get a payment from the surprise bags they have sold to con sumers on the app.

Philz Coffee first partnered with Too Good to Go last winter, says Andi Trindle Mersch, the brand’s VP of coffee operations and sus tainability. The coffee chain launched a pilot program with a few stores, then moved to a full-scale launch by March. “For me, that was super-fast,” Trindle Mersch says. “Having been here plugging away on the sustainability part of my role at Philz for years now, the work is very well supported in what we do, but it also is hard to execute; especially when we’ve got retail operations spread across the country, things just take a long time.” Too Good to Go was an easier step to take. The partnership was facilitated by the brand’s first retail sus tainability committee. Trindle Mersch was able to present the opportunity to committee members, who were excited about imple menting the concept in its stores. Thus far, Philz has filled surprise bags with bakery items, but Trindle Mersch says she is looking forward to adding hot breakfast items. She says one added value to partnering with Too Good to Go is the extra data Philz is able to include in its food waste reports. These internal food waste reports are produced every two weeks and include guidance for stores on what to order based on sales trends, Trindle Mersch says. With the new data from Too Good to Go, the number of surprise bags being sold at every store is also monitored. If one store is selling too many, it’s a signal that it may be ordering too much food, she says. Ordering too little food, on the other hand, leaves room for a negative customer experience. “You have to balance out that optimal customer experience with waste,” Trindle Mersch says. [CONTINUED ON PAGE 46]

Too Good To Go has seen 3.1 million downloads of its platform in two years.

A bout 40 percent of edible food in the U.S. is wasted. It’s a figure Too Good to Go, a mobile app that redirects uneaten food from retailers to customers, is on a mission to rem edy. The company was founded in Denmark in 2016 and has since expanded to 17 countries. In 2020, the brand came to the U.S., establishing a presence in 13 major cities. “We’ve seen 3.1 million downloads in just two years, which for a consumer marketplace app is pretty substantial,” says Tyler Sim mons, head of key accounts in the U.S. How it works is restaurants and food stores join the app and post “surprise bags” that are made up of food that would otherwise be thrown away. Then, app users can log on and purchase those sur prise bags for a third of the normal price. The app taps independent restaurants and chains of different sizes to get excess food into the hands of consumers. One of the lead selling points is the ease of which businesses can implement the platform; Simmons says the process does not change much from a single restaurant to a larger group. Businesses partnering with Too Good to Go first identify what food is surplus, check its retail



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