GiftAMeal Drives Customers to Pastaria Through the Power of Giving Back

January 1, 2020

In more ways than one, fighting hunger is good business for restaurants. 

In St. Louis, where 1 in 7 children face hunger daily, the impact of local startup GiftAMeal can be seen in the bustling dining rooms of its partner restaurants and the full shelves of local pantries.

GiftAMeal’s free-to-use mobile application allows customers to support local hunger relief organizations by simply taking a photo at participating establishments. With each photo taken, GiftAMeal makes a donation to Operation Food Search to help distribute 1 meal (1.2 pounds of meat, produce, and canned goods) to a neighborhood pantry. So far, the restaurant-funded program has helped provide 378,000 meals to those in need, with 175 restaurants currently participating. 


Pastaria, a renowned Italian restaurant in Clayton, recently conducted a 14-month deep-dive statistical analysis to measure the business impact of GiftAMeal’s program and the message is clear: giving back matters. 


Pastaria has been a partner restaurant on GiftAMeal since August 1, 2018. From then to October 1, 2019, over 1,000 meals were provided to those in need through Pastaria’s participation in the program. In comparing payment data of customers that used GiftAMeal versus those that did not, the results were conclusive.

GiftAMeal customers returned 3.8 times more frequently than customers that did not use the app at Pastaria. Over the course of those visits, GiftAMeal customers on average spent $481 more than customers that did not use the app.

GiftAMeal Pastaria 1 (1).jpg
Graph Number Visits GiftAMeal Pastaria C
Gerard Craft.jpg

Gerard Craft, owner of Pastaria and a James Beard Award-Winning Best Chef, noted:


“GiftAMeal perfectly fits the latest trends in reaching customers that care about the community. It is an easy way for restaurants to engage customers in giving back while increasing loyalty.”

Glantz continued:

"We were also thrilled to see that 100% of the patrons that used GiftAMeal posted positive captions with their GiftAMeal photos. In an industry where getting one bad review or losing a half star in your Yelp rating can greatly damage your restaurant’s sales, it was terrific to see GiftAMeal customers rise above the fray and share solely upbeat comments."

GiftAMeal’s Founder & CEO, Andrew Glantz, commented:

“GiftAMeal isn’t just for millennials. Patrons of all ages enjoy giving back and we’re very grateful our app is used by everyone.

Graph Ages of GiftAMeal Customers at Pas

Pastaria customers using GiftAMeal spanned all ages, from 20 to 76 years old with a median age of 31 years old. 55% of customers were millennials ages 18-34 and 45% were 35+.

Some of the most used words in GiftAMeal photo captions included: Pastaria, Pasta, Pizza, Gelato, Best, Delicious, Favorite, and Great.


GiftAMeal is truly a win for Pastaria, but also for the community. Local food bank and hunger relief organization Operation Food Search has been very enthusiastic about the partnership.

Kristen Wild, Executive Director of Operation Food Search, said:

kristen wild.jpg

“GiftAMeal plays a key role in helping Operation Food Search fulfill its mission of healing hunger. The donations made through GiftAMeal have allowed us to expand our reach, providing more people with access to healthy food. We are very grateful to GiftAMeal, its users, and its partner restaurants for advancing our cause.”

Sign up your restaurant at or contact GiftAMeal’s Founder, Andrew, if you have any questions at

All findings were strongly statistically significant with a p-value of less than 0.001 (p-value of less than 0.05 is considered statistically significant).

Findings were verified by Washington University in St. Louis PhD candidate Eric Failes.