Metro Weekly

Too Good To Go brings zero-waste takeout to DC

The app connects foodies with vendors in the fight to end food waste

Too Good To Go
Too Good To Go

Washingtonians clearly know a good thing when they see it. Take, for example, Too Good To Go, an app that connects environmentally conscious foodies with vendors who have surplus food, which launched in the District last month. It was so popular that it was “hard to get a meal,” says co-founder Lucie Basch. “We could really tell that people in D.C. were kind of waiting for this to arrive. We already have more than 100 stores.”

Part of the growing “tech-for-good” sector, Too Good To Go is a “win-win-win concept,” Basch says. “Stores don’t have to throw away food anymore, where people like you and me can get this delicious food at actually one-third of the price, and where together, we really make a difference in the fight against food waste. In the last five years, we’ve saved more than 70 million meals.”

After spreading to 14 countries throughout Europe since 2016, Too Good To Go launched in the U.S. last summer — first with New York and Boston, then D.C. and Philadelphia last month. The company takes a decidedly simple approach with its app, where users choose from a list of vendors offering Surprise or Magic Bags for pickup just before closing time, either that day or the next. No bag costs more than $6, it’s always a surprise — in part because merchants can’t guarantee what will remain at day’s end — and it’s also always a bargain for the consumer, with the actual value intended to be three times the price. The current local vendor lineup, which continues to grow, includes PLNT Burger, Chaia Tacos, PogiBoy, South Block, Pearl’s Bagels, Paul’s, Zenebech, Fresh Baguette, CakeRoom, Valor Brewpub, Rice Market, Common Good City Farm, and Surplus Farms.

Typically, a third of the food customers save through Too Good to Go is shared with partners, roommates, or friends. For those with dietary restrictions, Basch encourages people to “share with others” something in the bag that they’re unable to eat.

“[It’s] always a surprise because we want to keep it simple for the stores,” she says. “And I think that’s the biggest strength of Too Good To Go, is the fact that it really is as simple as throwing food away for the store. And that’s really important.”

Visit www.toogoodtogo.com to download the app.

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