Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Glantz.
Hi Andrew, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
While at a venture capital internship one summer in college, I started to catch the startup bug as I saw the innovative solutions startups had to the world’s challenges. One day, I was on a lunch break sitting at a restaurant munching on pizza with the other intern and discussed how people discover restaurants and how millennials especially make many purchasing decisions based on their values. With inspiration from other buy-one-give-one companies, the initial seed of GiftAMeal was formed: a mobile app that helped provide a meal to a neighbor in need each time a customer took a photo of their order from a partner restaurant. I put my savings into the company to hire an app developer, went door to door to restaurants, and never looked back. Now, we have 250 partner restaurants, 40,000 app users and have provided 655,000 meals to those in need.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
There have been MANY ups and downs along the way. We had one month of money left in the bank account on five different occasions where we had to make a sale, win a pitch competition, secure a grant, or close an investor to keep us from going under. Initially, when we didn’t have users, it was a major challenge to get restaurants to buy in. But we had some great early adopters, like Anthonino’s Taverna, that not only joined but also provided great feedback and connections to other restaurants. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but it is extremely rewarding to have an unlimited amount of creative autonomy to build a company in your vision with your values and see it come to fruition.
As you know, we’re big fans of GiftAMeal. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
In addition to helping provide over 600,000 meals to those in need in our community, it’s been terrific to see the business impact GiftAMeal has generated for our partner restaurants. As a for-profit social venture, our revenue comes from a monthly subscription from the restaurants that they pay as a mix of marketing and giving back. Then, at the end of every month, we make monetary donations to local food banks to get meals to those in need. It’s been incredible to see our app users look to support local restaurants on our app, especially during tough times like the pandemic. Beyond the appeal of the social impact side, we have been able to measure tangible business results for the restaurants as well. We recently did a case study with one of our partner restaurants, Espresso Yourself Coffee & Cafe. Espresso Yourself provided us with access to their point-of-sale system to measure GiftAMeal’s impact on customer behavior. Credit card transactions from Espresso Yourself were split into two groups: customers that used GiftAMeal and customers that did not. The customers that used GiftAMeal, on average: spent 11% more per transaction, returned 51% more frequently and tipped 49% more than their counterparts who had not used GiftAMeal.
Any big plans?
GiftAMeal is looking to scale! We are now hiring as we look to grow our presence in St. Louis and expand into new cities. Our eyes and hearts are locked in on 1 million meals and 1,000 partner restaurants as our next goals.
- Free app for iOS and Android for users – giftameal.com/download
- $49/month for restaurants to join – giftameal.com/join