Imagine being able to gobble down food from your favorite eatery for the fraction of a price. It’s not a dream; it’s not wishful thinking. Food for All, a startup based out of Cambridge Plug, is developing an app that would reduce food waste by allowing users to buy excess food that restaurants didn’t sell at significantly discounted prices.
Through the app, you’d be able to pay between 50 and 80 percent less money for food from nearby restaurants. The time to snag your heavily discounted meal varies, depending on the individual restaurant. However, you can expect to pick it up around the end of a meal shift or closing time.
Food for All currently has a working prototype, which was self-funded, and it’s piloting the app among more than 30 restaurants throughout Cambridge and Boston. Through a Kickstarter campaign, the venture hopes to raise $50,000 to roll out its final product next summer in both Boston and New York.
The startup began as a graduation project while David Rodriguez, CEO and founder of Food for All, was completing his MBA at Hult International Business School in Cambridge. His family ties served as the inspiration for the app.
“My family back in Mexico comes from the hospitality business,” Rodriguez told us. “I saw how much food was wasted in hotels, restaurants and venues… I wanted to do something about it.”
This past spring, Food for All began working with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Sustainable Technologies and Health Program. Through this collaboration, they focused on the environmental impact an app like Food for All could have. They found that reducing food waste would promote sustainability by reducing CO2 emissions, as well as water and energy use during the food preparation process.
One warning when using Food for All: There won’t be a menu, per se. Restaurants will give you a general idea of the kind of food to expect. For example, it might say you could snag pizza at one place and sandwiches at another. So don’t plan on starving yourself all day thinking you’ll get your favorite risotto for the cheap.
“You cannot choose the type of food you want from a menu… Restaurants wanted to differentiate between regular customers and the ones using Food for All,” Rodriguez said.
According to Rodriguez, they aren’t just targeting traditional, sit-down restaurants. Food for All also plans on working with cafeterias, buffets, bakeries and coffee shops to sell their leftovers for a fraction of the cost. For example, some of the local eateries with which they’re working include Petsi Pies, Taco Loco Mexican Grill and Piperi Mediterranean Grill.
Through Food for All’s Kickstarter, people can start reserving their meals now. Pricing starts from $25 for 4 restaurant meals.