BOULDER — It’s a simple concept, really.
College students need to eat, and they don’t have a lot of excess cash.
Restaurants and food service providers need to prepare food ahead of the daily rush, and they often have food left over.
By matching up the eaters with the producers, and providing the surplus food at a discount, everyone benefits.
That was the concept that University of Colorado Boulder students put into practice with their new company, called Goodie Bag Food Co.
CEO Eddy Connors, Ethan Mills, chief marketing officer; Luke Siegert, chief product officer; and Kevin Gonzalez, chief sales officer, formed the company in late 2022.
Goodie Bag is a BizWest IQ award winner this year for innovation in the retail sector.
At its heart, the company is a mobile application marketplace platform that provides the connectivity between restaurant and customer.
Restaurants list available “goodie bags” consisting of their perfectly good, unsold food on the day that it is produced and specify a pickup time. The contents of the goodie bag remain a mystery to the customers, who browse available bags based on restaurant type and make an in-app purchase to reserve one for pick up.
Restaurants salvage revenue on sunk costs while attracting new, price sensitive customers who receive quality food at a discounted price. Buyers don’t go away hungry.
The business is particularly useful in college towns, where the same dynamic exists: hungry students with little money, and potentially wasted, over-produced food.
When implemented, Goodie Bag can reduce the amount of food waste that an establishment experiences, while salvaging costs on ingredients, packaging or labor. The platform creates public benefit by allowing price sensitive or food insecure customers to buy quality food at discounted prices. Customers who wouldn’t regularly be exposed to high quality restaurant food can now secure nutritious meals.
Competition is minimal in the U.S. A Danish company called Too Good To Go also uses a mobile platform to connect its users to restaurant surplus food. That company’s main markets are located in Europe with France leading in adoption numbers.
Company founders used winnings from a University of Colorado Boulder Startup Pitch Competition to finance development of the app. Signing up restaurant participants and food customers has been a labor of love for the founders.
While its foray into the marketplace was tested during Spring Semester in Boulder, the company hopes to expand to other college towns, starting up the road in Fort Collins.