Local startup boosts restaurants while

fighting hunger

Andrew Glantz is founder and CEO of GiftAMeal.

DILIP VISHWANAT | SLBJ

By Veneta Rizvic – Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal

May 28, 2018, 6:58am CDT

GiftAMeal, a rapidly growing local startup that has provided about 120,000 meals for food pantries in St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit, conducted a case study in conjunction with TableCrunch to analyze its impact on restaurant revenue. St. Louis-based restaurant Rich & Charlie’s participated in the study.

The study analyzed seven months of diner payment data at two Rich & Charlie’s locations and the results showed that customers using GiftAMeal spent 24 percent more per check compared with standard guests, the company said. Customers also returned 45 percent more frequently and tipped staff 14 percent more, the data showed.

 

“These results validated the trends that we observed in the power of social impact when we decided to create GiftAMeal,” Andrew Glantz, founder and CEO of GiftAMeal, said. “At the end of the day, we want to provide financial returns for our partner restaurants and prove that they can connect with customers in a way that does not require constant price slashing and discounting.”

 

The average check at Rich & Charlie’s restaurants for GiftAMeal users was $43.14, whereas the average for those not using GiftAMeal was $34.70, the data said. In addition, GiftAMeal customers at Rich & Charlie’s tipped an average of 19.09 percent, whereas customers not using GiftAMeal tipped an average of 16.71 percent, according to the data.

 

“GiftAMeal has provided a terrific boost to our customer loyalty and average check size,” Emil Pozzo, owner of Rich & Charlie’s said. “This increase in numbers has obviously been a nice benefit, but the real reward of GiftAMeal is being able to support the community that has helped support us over the past 50 years.”

 

GiftAMeal is a mobile app that allows restaurant patrons to make a donation to a local food pantry by simply taking a photo of their meal. The donations come from fees paid by restaurants to be listed on the app, which are between $49 and $149 per month.

 

Glantz launched the startup following his freshman year at Washington University. Since its launch in 2014, the startup has added more than 100 restaurants to its app, including recent additions in St. Louis like Schlafly Bottleworks, The Hideaway and Crafted. GiftAMeal has 80 participating restaurants in St. Louis, 25 in Chicago and 5 in Detroit.

 

In addition to serving the St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit markets, the company has been approached by Buffalo, New York legislators about a potential expansion to the city later this year.

 

"They reached out to us with a pitch to have us expand to their community as they face a large problem with food-insecurity," Jacob Mohrmann, chief marketing officer of GiftAMeal, said. "They have a socially conscious population and they have a growing restaurant scene."

 

GiftAMeal recently won two major grants, including $13,359 from the Skandalaris Center and $5,000 from Dartmouth College. Capital Innovators invested $100,000 in the company in 2017.

 

The company has three core team members and three student interns. GiftAMeal has seen 57 percent growth in monthly revenue from 2017 to 2018, Mohrmann said. In addition, the company was serving 25,000 meals a year ago, compared with 120,000 meals today.

Originally published in the St. Louis Business Journal

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