Postmates Is Changing The Way Restaurants Handle Leftover Food — For The Better
Get ready, everyone: Postmates is challenging you to a FoodFight!, and trust us – you’re going to want in.
Now, let me start by pointing out that this is guaranteed to be unlike any other food fight you’ve experienced before. There isn’t going to be any chaotic tossing of mashed potatoes, or spaghetti strewn across walls. In fact, the entire goal of this FoodFight! is to change the way we, as a society, think about and approach food waste, starting with one of the most obvious perpetrators: restaurants.
We all love having the opportunity to indulge in a home-delivered meal with the press of a button. And oftentimes we can have our cravings satisfied in under an hour. What we don’t always think about, though, is exactly how this is possible, or about what is happening on the other end of the app we ordered from.
How can the food be ready so fast? And what happens to the food that isn’t ordered by the end of the night? And what if – what if – all the excess food could be donated to those in need rather than end up in the landfills?
This is where FoodFight! comes in.
Civic Labs, a branch of Postmates that works to “amplify [their] positive impact on the people and merchants that [they] work with everyday,” first launched FoodFight! back in February 2018 with the help of Working Not Working and Vice.
The impact of the project was so significant that by October of the same year they had already begun expanding the program to additional restaurants across Los Angeles. And as of May 2019, the program had expanded from “approximately 650 activated restaurants to more than 3,000 FoodFight! activated restaurants who can now donate their excess food to nearby shelters.”
And this program isn’t only limited to Los Angeles, but is now officially active in a total of 23 cities across the US, including the following:
Akron, OH; Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL; Colorado Springs, CO; Detroit, MI; Dover, NH; Kingston, NY; Lawton, OK; Los Angeles, CA; Manteca, CA; McKinney, TX; Nashville, TN; New York, NY; Oklahoma City, OK; Riverview, FL; San Francisco, CA; Springfield, IL; Tampa Bay, FL; and Tulsa, OK.
Did your city make the cut?
So, how exactly does FoodFight! work, anyway?
FoodFight! plays an important role as the liaison between restaurants with extra food and local nonprofits and shelters that are in need.
The FoodFight! program works much like the food delivery system we know and love. Basically, it works by inviting participating restaurants to “request a pickup of excess food and have it delivered to a local shelter at the touch of a button,” therefore helping to limit food waste and providing restaurants with a simple and convenient way to give back to their community.
I had a chance to speak with Disney Petit, the Head of Civic Labs at Postmates, about the program, who explained that, “as a delivery platform, it made sense that since Postmates were already picking up at restaurants and delivering to a final destination, why not make that destination a nonprofit or homeless shelter for people in need when excess food is available?”
The FoodFight! program is already active in 23 cities across the US, and it’s growing.
Postmates plans to launch the program in all 3,000+ cities served by Postmates around the US.
Petit also expressed the hope that Postmates’s program would inspire other companies to rethink their own consumption and waste, and consider the different ways that they might “leverage their unique and existing infrastructure to benefit the world for good.”
The program has received an overwhelmingly positive response from restaurants and non-profits alike.
As such a unique program, it isn’t surprising to see how much attention and positive feedback FoodFight! has received.
What’s even more impressive about this program, as pointed out by Petit, is that it has been created by “Postmates employees volunteering from engineering, product management, design, and more.”
They also did a lot of research before hand, reaching out to local restaurants and nonprofits to correctly define their needs and discover exactly how Postmates could create a program that would serve as a “useful solution to solve multiple problems at the same time.” And thus, FoodFight! was born.