The GiftAMeal mobile app, conceived and launched by Olin junior Andrew Glantz one year ago, has reached another milestone as it continues to grow in popularity. Jacob Mohrmann, BSBA’16, Chief Marketing Officer of GiftAMeal, reports that the startup more than doubled its meal count since September, reaching a total of 15,000 meals donated to local food banks.
Each time a user of the GiftAMeal mobile app takes a photo of his or her food at a participating restaurant, a meal is provided to someone in need through a local food bank. Users may also recommend restaurants to friends and share photos on social media.
GiftAMeal is one of the featured businesses at Startup Connection, Nov. 16, at Olin Business School.
Mohrman and Glantz were featured in the 2016 Olin Business Magazine presenting their Elevator Pitch for GiftAMeal.
GiftAMeal is a for-profit social enterprise, charging a monthly fee to restaurants to participate and paying out donation to food banks to help provide meals to those in need. GiftAMeal has won multiple awards, including being named a “Top 3 Student Startup” in the country at the South by Southwest Conference. It received its first investment of $100,000 from the Capital Innovators accelerator in St. Louis, marking the first time that the group had invested in an undergraduate startup.
GiftAMeal helps restaurants acquire and retain customers, while also feeding the hungry in our communities.
Update 3/31/2020 – GiftAMeal has raised $20,000 for COVID-19 hunger relief.
GiftAMeal is a St. Louis startup founded by Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17. The following is a press release from the organization.
GiftAMeal, a St. Louis based mobile app, is stepping up in the face of the COVID-19 crisis that has hit our community so hard. Today [March 18], GiftAMeal announced an ambitious five-point plan to provide relief to struggling restaurants and the most at-risk segments of our society.
is a mobile app that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user
takes a photo in a partner restaurant. Just two weeks ago, they announced they had
reached 200 partner restaurants, with 400,000 meals provided to those in need.
& CEO of GiftAMeal, Andrew Glantz, explained, “A majority of the community
members supported through GiftAMeal are children and the elderly. Schools are
closing, and children relying on meals normally provided are facing a new
challenge as social services scramble to readjust. At the same time, older
community members, the most at-risk population for COVID-19, need our support
now more than ever.”
continued, “Just as the community is struggling, so are many restaurants in the
face of public health guidelines designed to contain the spread of this virus.
Employees depend on their jobs to pay bills and make rent, and our partners are
doing their best to mitigate the effects of this crisis on their staff. But
they cannot do it without the support of the public.”
to assist both local restaurants and those at-risk in the community, Glantz
announced the following plan:
Donation program available for delivery/pickup/offsite customers
the mandated closing this week of dining rooms across the bistate area,
Glantz’s team quickly devised a big change to their program that was previously
only available to in-restaurant customers at partnering locations.
“We just launched an update to the GiftAMeal app that will temporarily allow users to take pictures off-site to donate meals for takeout, delivery, and gift card purchases. We will do this by lifting the location requirement of needing to be at a partner restaurant when you take the photo and we will move to manual verification. PLEASE support our local partner restaurants that are struggling during this difficult time.” – Glantz
Immediate financial support of hunger relief agencies – $5,000 matching challenge
“Having spoken to Operation Food
Search about their needs, we will be making our donations for the next few
months early to provide immediate funding to get food to those facing hunger.
We may be a small startup with limited means but we’re launching a campaign to
match donations, up to $5,000, for our food bank partner. If you would like to
contribute, click here: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GiftAMealMatch.”
Publicity for restaurants undergoing fast changes
hundreds of restaurants forced to quickly find new avenues to pay their staff,
Glantz is keeping the app’s 35,000+ loyal restaurant customers aware of all
avenues to support their favorite restaurants:
“We will keep you up-to-date on
the latest with our partner restaurants on our Facebook, Instagram, and
Twitter. Many are expanding take-out and delivery programs to keep serving the
community and are implementing extremely thorough health precautions to keep
us all safe.” – Glantz
Direct coordination of food donations from restaurants
are working to coordinate food donations with Operation Food Search. If you
know of any restaurant that has a surplus that is interested in donating food
to the community, please let me know or have them contact Jack Baran of OFS
directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s tax-deductible too!” –
Program cost relief for struggling restaurants
a message to restaurants (who normally pay $49-$149/month to fund the program
costs and donations), Glantz extended an offer to self-fund the program for
restaurants unable to contribute in the months of March and April so that food
donations and restaurant customers could continue to flow at a time when they
are most needed. When asked how he came to that decision, he explained,
“We are a small startup with
limited means, but this is a time where we can shine the brightest. It’s
important to me that our donations continue to flow to hunger relief
organizations, and I know that the visibility of restaurants on our platform
can have a big impact on cash-flow for these local businesses. I’ve always been
struck by the generosity and love of community that our partner restaurant
operators have shown, and even if it’s a drop in the bucket, I am going to help
however I can.”
response by the community has been overwhelmingly positive and grateful.
Kristen Wild, Executive Director of Operation Food Search, commented on
GiftAMeal’s fast and community-centered response:
“We are so very grateful to GiftAMeal for its
innovative approach to providing more people with access to healthy food. Socially-conscious
businesses like this are changing the way people approach giving, and the
generous support of GiftAMeal is making an impact in our community every day.”
Jacob Mohrmann, BSBA’16, chief marketing officer of GiftAMeal, provided this update to the Olin Blog. The company was founded by Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17.
A St. Louis startup that is revolutionizing restaurant marketing while feeding the hungry has successfully raised its second round of seed funding. The company has raised $165,000 from various angel investors, including a restaurant owner, multiple entrepreneurs, and high-level executives.
GiftAMeal is a mobile application that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo on its app at a partner restaurant. If a user then shares that photo to Facebook or Instagram, a second meal is given.
Over 150 restaurants are participating in GiftAMeal’s program and over 175,000 meals have been provided so far. GiftAMeal is based in St. Louis and provides the meals through a partnership with local food bank Operation Food Search.
GiftAMeal’s founder, Andrew Glantz, explained, “With GiftAMeal, we saw an opportunity to both help the community, and help provide restaurants with a unique method of engaging customers. After our initial success, we are excited to use this funding to take GiftAMeal to the next level.”
Nine individuals participated in this second round of funding.
Michael Staenberg, owner of multiple restaurant brands including: Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, La Boulangerie, Lion’s Choice, Granite City Food & Brewery, The Shack.
Stuart Zimmerman, co-founder of Buckingham, Founder of Audubon Associates.
Scott Richert, chief technology officer at Mercy.
Thomas M. Smith, co-owner of Special Solutions.
Ed Gustin II, former director at LORD Corporation.
Bryan Tramont, managing partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP.
Dale N. Hatfield, senior fellow, Silicon Flatirons Center.
Bruce Shapiro, CEO of Shapiro Metals.
Joshua Greenman, founder of Mercury Development.
Glantz, a Los Angeles native, came to St. Louis to attend Washington University in St. Louis in 2013. He founded GiftAMeal as a 21-year-old undergraduate student and was the youngest founder and only undergraduate ever to receive an investment from the Capital Innovators accelerator in St. Louis. He now works on GiftAMeal full-time and was recently the youngest person named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s 30 Under 30 List.
GiftAMeal is already primed for growth. In the last four months, they have rapidly expanded their restaurant base, doubled their monthly recurring revenue, and even hired their first full-time employee. Glantz explained, “With this funding round, we will be able to reach new heights to further expand our reach and make an even bigger impact on our community.”
Join the movement to fight hunger in your local community. Download GiftAMeal for free today and start snapping photos at favorites such as Pastaria, Three Kings, Garbanzo, and more.
Pictured above: Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17, founder of GiftAMeal.
The company—founded on campus by Olin business students and now operated by alumni—found from its research that customers who used GiftAMeal consistently spent 24 percent more per check compared to standard guests. Additionally, guests returned 45 percent more frequently and even tipped staff 14 percent more.
GiftAMeal markets a mobile phone app that promotes “socially conscious eating” by allowing users to donate to local food pantries when they eat at partnering restaurants. The service is available in St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit.
“These results validated the trends we observed in the power of social impact when we decided to create GiftAMeal,” said Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17, founder and CEO of GiftAMeal. “At the end of the day, we want to provide financial returns for our partner restaurants and prove that they can connect with customers in a way that does not require constant price-slashing and discounting.”
Rich & Charlie’s owner, Emil Pozzo, said “the positive feedback from customers has been really exciting to see. The staff has embraced the program as well. They see it as an easy way to help those in need.”
Other Updates on GiftAMeal
The past month has been one of the most successful in GiftAMeal’s history:
We won two major grants ($13,359 from the Skandalaris Center and $5,000 from Dartmouth).
Buffalo legislators reached out to us to pitch GiftAMeal expanding to their area.
We reached 118,781 meals provided in St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit.
We became a Top 100 Finalist in the 2018 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest.
We received a letter from legislators in Buffalo requesting that we expand to their region. We are in talks with them. It is an honor just to see grassroots interest and enthusiasm for our business in an area of the country we have not previously explored.
Just a week later, we heard that we were selected to receive a grant for $13,359 from the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Right after that, we received word that we won the Dartmouth Founder’s Grant for $5,000. Given by Dartmouth College, the grant backs startups with ambitious entrepreneurial plans that have demonstrated a high commitment to learning and execution.
Most recently, after asking our users to vote for us out of thousands of companies, we were chosen as a Top 100 Finalist in the FedEx Small Business Grant Competition. We look forward to hearing from them in the coming weeks to see if we made the Top 10.
Last, but certainly not least, we recently tallied the numbers and made our food bank donations, and found that our users have helped provide 118,781 meals in St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit. No specific milestone here, we just always love to see that number growing. Every meal counts!
I talked to Andrew recently and he said, “There is still much more work to do to make the most of all of these opportunities, but the future looks bright for GiftAMeal and the ceiling has never been higher for our potential growth.”
Students in the CELect Entrepreneurship Course, held at the T-REx startup accelerator, are sharing their team projects with the Olin Blog. Student team Anna Cossio, Mark Gum, Nick Rafferty, and Shannon Turner describe the experience of consulting for their client, alum-founded GiftAMeal.
The CEL entrepreneurial consulting team course (CELect) provides WashU students the opportunity to work with and solve business challenges for St. Louis-area startups. Our team is working with GiftAMeal CEO Andrew Glantz, BSBA’17, to develop a marketing strategy for the company’s St. Louis region. Through this marketing strategy, we hope to increase downloads and engagement on GiftAMeal’s mobile app.
GiftAMeal is the perfect example of the amazing work for-profits can accomplish when they tackle social causes. Since 2015, Andrew and his team have worked with various mentors, accelerators, and investors to develop an app meant to address food insecurity by providing meals to food banks.
Here’s how it works: Download the app and check out one of your favorite participating St. Louis restaurants. When your meal arrives at the table, take a picture of your food, and share with your friends via the social media outlet built into the GiftAMeal app. Once your photo has been shared, GiftAMeal will donate a meal to Operation Food Search in St. Louis at absolutely no cost to you. It’s as simple as that!
Our team has loved working with Andrew and his team on this project. His drive to address food insecurity in the community has proven to be contagious. Beyond that, it is inspiring for us to know that our recommendations will translate into a larger impact for GiftAMeal. Not only are we learning how to formulate and communicate our recommendations in a professional setting, we are also contributing to the success of an application that will provide support to many families in need.
Working on this project has given us the experience of working from the ground up to understand the current needs of clients and users of the app. We have interviewed restaurant owners who are registered under the GiftAMeal application, analyzed feedback from current app users, and experienced using the app first-hand by donating meals as we dine at restaurants. Each of these steps have allowed us to begin formulating ideas for the recommendations we will provide Andrew and his team in the following weeks. Stepping into the business world has given us the opportunity to attain real-world knowledge, an experience not often available to students stuck in the classroom.
Guest Bloggers: Anna Cossio, BSCS/BSSSE ’20, Mark Gum, Law ’18, Nick Rafferty, BSBA ’20, Shannon Turner, MBA ’18