If reports are to be believed, UK restaurants waste an estimated 600,000 tonnes of food every year. For a chap named Jamie Crummie, that colossal number presented something of an opportunity.
The plucky 25-year-old entrepreneur was smart enough to realise that he could turn our insatiable appetite (if you’ll excuse the most unusual of puns) for creating food waste into a fascinating business venture.
Too Good To Go (TGTG) is an app with a blindingly simple if – on the face of it – rather unsavoury premise. It enables users to buy leftover, unsold food from restaurants that would otherwise be heading for the bin.
In return for helping rid the UK of food waste, customers are treated to a sizeable 50% discount on their purchase, although that often stretches to much more. The app is free to download and meals on offer cost between £2 and £3.80, saving not just the world, but it’s users’ pockets, too.
Crummie and co have clearly created TGTG with the very best intentions, and any app that is inspired by a sudden realisation that one third of the world’s food is being wasted can only be applauded.
It is a business venture, though, and that begs the question: is Too Good To Go a good option for restaurants looking to take the hassle of food waste off their hands?
Before we get there, though, here’s how it works, from both sides.
How Too Good To Go works for customers
As noted, the app is free and can be downloaded from both the Google Play store and Apple’s App Store. Once signed up, users can search for participating restaurants by location or view them on a map.
Once a restaurant is found, a blurb about the establishment and food in question is presented, along with an indication of how many takeaway boxes are left, the price and a great big ‘BUY’ button:
Collection times are also quoted and, if the user decides they fancy what’s on offer, they simply click the ‘BUY’ button and head to the restaurant at the allotted collection time.
On arrival at the restaurant, a quick glance at the TGTG confirmation email is all the front of house staff need to hand over the takeaway box (the contents of which is likely to be something of a lottery unless explicitly described on the TGTG listing).
That’s it. Tomorrow’s lunch, sorted.
How Too Good To Go works for restaurants
At the time of writing, the number of restaurants available on TGTG in our location (Northampton) is… well, there aren’t any. But this is early days, and when you look a little further afield, it’s clear the focus at the moment is on signing up smaller independents (although the developers have hinted at tapping into the bigger chains at some stage).
TGTG calls the restaurants it has on board ‘partners’ and encourages establishments of any kind to sign up via its website. Once on board, TGTG restaurants receive a welcome pack that includes window stickers, sugarcane takeaway boxes and how to guides.
Restaurants can also use the TGTG app from which they can view sales reports, order additional packaging and control collection times.
The commercials aren’t clear on the website, but some news reports have noted that TGTG take a ‘small percentage’ of revenue to cover their operating costs. We’ll call that a commission, then.
So, is Too Good To Go worth it from a restauranteur’s perspective?
It’s customary in a blog post to provide a detailed ‘for and against’ section for services such as TGTG, but we’ll break the mould with this one.
TGTG seems to be an utter no-brainer for restauranteurs. Paying a small commission to get rid of waste food in the most ethical way is a small price to pay for helping save the planet and increasing brand visibility.
The sign-up process for customers is also admirably straightforward, and with so few restaurants on there at the moment and TGTG making waves in the press, it would pay to jump onboard early.
What’s to loose (apart from waste food)?
TGTG have certainly put plenty of effort into supporting material for the app, and if you fancy signing your restaurant up to the new service, we recommend that you download and read their how-to guide for restaurants.