WESTFIELD — At the end of the day, when restaurants are closing, the app Too Good to Go offers a second life for leftover food that would otherwise go to waste.
Two local restaurants, Manhattan Bagel in Westfield and Nick’s Pizza in Fanwood, have begun using the app to offer reduced-price surprise bags users can pick up at the end of the day. The restaurants can adjust how many surprise bags they offer each day depending on how much food they have left over.
“It’s a good way to help people who aren’t as fortunate, and it’s a way to recoup a little bit of your cost of goods,” said Josh Wang, the owner of Manhattan Bagel in Westfield.
Robert Watterson, the owner of Nick’s Pizza, said that the app is “truly a win-win for everyone involved.” The restaurant is able to get money for food that would otherwise go to waste, customers get quality food for a cheaper price and Too Good to Go gets a portion of the sale.
The app is user-friendly for restaurant owners and customers, Mr. Watterson said. He also said he started using Too Good to Go because, “you’re not wasting food at the end of the day and you get to meet new customers.”
Mr. Watterson said that, in the 10 years that Nick’s Pizza has been open, the establishment never liked throwing out food and was always looking for places that would take the leftover slices. The app reached out to the restaurant, and when he heard about it, he thought it was a good way to avoid wasting food.
Similarly, Mr. Wang said that for many years Manhattan Bagel wanted to donate its leftover food, but it was a challenge to find organizations that would pick up the bagels, especially since most of the nearby soup kitchens are not in the immediate area. He said that when Too Good to Go reached out to his business, “it was a no-brainer.”
Too Good to Go launched in 2016 in Denmark, and in the years since it has expanded globally. As of 2021, the app has users in 17 countries.
According to Too Good to Go’s website, approximately 40 percent of food goes to waste, and food waste is responsible for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. A total of 2.8 billion tons of food are wasted annually while 828 million people go hungry every day.
Since registering with the app, Mr. Wang has noticed that the restaurant is generally throwing out less food. The garbage company used by the business would charge the restaurant extra for pickup if the weight of the trash was greater. Mr. Wang said that in the past, he has had to pay overage charges, but in the last few months, he has not been charged extra, which has been a secondary positive effect of using the app.
“The amount [of food] we are not throwing away has helped me reduce some of my garbage costs, so less stuff is going into the landfill as well,” Mr. Wang said. “You’re not only recouping on your cost of goods, but you’re also saving on your waste.”
Since partnering with Too Good to Go in mid-February, Mr. Wang said that Manhattan Bagel has sold 573 meals and reduced more than 1,000 kilograms of carbon-dioxide emissions.