Stranded in the pouring rain at night at the far end of London, Chris Wilson stood before the closed doorstep of the restaurant buffet that he hoped to convince to be part of his movement, Too Good To Go (TGTG). Exhausted from being on his feet all day, Wilson walked away, asking himself “if it was all worth it.”
This was one incident amongst many in which the company founders were “rudely ushered out of a restaurant” after being told that their idea was never going to work, or that they had a technical glitch with the app.
Deciding not to give up, and with a lot of hard work and persistence, Wilson, alongside his other co-founder Jamie Crummie, launched an application named Too Good To Go (TGTG) in Brighton and Leeds to help save wasted food on the 1st of June. TGTG was not just like any other food waste initiative, however. Within two months, the new app had over 400,000 downloads, becoming an instant success and expanding to London, Birmingham and, soon, Manchester.
Launching the app, the company hoped to become a voice for wasted food and to promote a more sustainable way of living and using resources. By reducing food waste, TGTG is aiming to lessen the pressure on the environment while making food more accessible to those who need it.
“We set up Too Good To Go first and foremost as a platform to highlight the vast amounts of edible food wasted yearly by UK restaurants,” Wilson said. “By making this available through our app we are offering a means of proving that much of what we waste as a society is not actually ‘waste’ at all, but actually perfectly edible food that we should be appreciating as our most valuable energy resource and not taking for granted as something to just throw in the bin.”
“Our immediate hopes are to roll the app out nationwide and add to our number of participating restaurants, cafes and bakeries in London, Brighton, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester as we look to save as much food as possible from being sent to landfill,” he added.
More than 2,000 meals were diverted from being thrown in a bin to being given to hungry bellies within the first two months of the app’s operation.
“We’ve been working on the app since autumn 2015, conducting research, designs and making sure that the app would be appreciated by restaurant owners as something that could help them reduce their food waste,” he says.
The app has more than 160 partner restaurants, and the food ranges from high-end places to open buffets offering easy-to-prepare meals.
Some of the well-known names partnering with the company is Moshimo in Brighton, which has just been voted the second-best sushi restaurant in the country. Other names include buffet chains such as Jimmy’s Restaurants and juice bars like Glo! Juice.
“We are also working with established premium bakery groups such as Real Patisserie in Brighton,” he adds, explaining that the “app really does have a wide range of food available to choose from.”
With such a wide range of food products, many things can go wrong with the food quality, but the the company set up an internal auditing process to ensure that they only partner up with restaurants that suit their ethos
A system for handling complaints is in place should an issue ever arise with someone’s order
For the time being, the app remains free as the company is still looking into how to generate profit from it.
“We’ve not yet given full consideration to this, but as a social enterprise we plan on being self-sustainable and generating a revenue stream which will allow us to spread our wings and save as much food as possible,” he says.
The company is now looking for people to help set up the app in new cities. With the sky being the limit, TGTG hopes to expand to wherever food is wasted and be part of the solution.