JENI COUCH JOINS HUNGER-FIGHTING STARTUP GIFTAMEAL
“I just had to be a part of it.”
That’s what Jeni Couch (then-GM of Trainwreck Saloon in Westport) thought back in 2019 when her restaurant partnered with GiftAMeal.
And now, joining the GiftAMeal team after providing more than 5,000 meals through that partnership, Couch plans to feed hundreds of thousands in 2022 as she leads GiftAMeal’s expansion throughout the St. Louis metro area.
GiftAMeal is a St. Louis—based startup that helps provide a meal to a neighbor in need each time a guest takes a photo of their food or drink from a partner restaurant.
Those donations go to local non-profit Operation Food Search which distributes healthy food to over 200 neighborhood pantries. Over 300 restaurants are involved and over 800,000 meals have been provided to those in need so far.
For Couch, feeding people is nothing new. With 20+ years’ experience running restaurants, the industry veteran certainly knows the value of a meal. And since she first started working with GiftAMeal – from the restaurant management side – she was an instant advocate for the program:
“I remember thinking how perfect this was for restaurants: an easy way to do good that also helps the business,” explained Couch. “I would go to customers and mention how simple it was to use and they loved it. And those customers using GiftAMeal, I saw them come back more and more frequently – since it’s not just about the meal anymore; they felt that deep sense of connection.”
To Couch, this connection to a mission made all the difference. “Running a restaurant, you get bombarded for things you don’t need. But with GiftAMeal, I actually could see the customers coming in and using the app to share uplifting photos about our restaurant.”
For GiftAMeal’s Founder & CEO, Andrew Glantz, hiring someone with deep industry experience was high on the priority list.
“To see this passion for what we do, and to have it coming from a place of experience and understanding of the industry and what we offer --- it’s incredible!” exclaimed Founder and CEO Andrew Glantz. “We’re beyond elated to have Jeni join our team. It really validates what we’re doing, and really makes us excited for the future.”
Couch’s hire brings GiftAMeal’s staff to 11 team members across technology, community outreach, and marketing.