First Attempt on Tackling Food Waste

Photographed by 911 Chef Eric

With the passion to take on the massive global problem of food waste, we presented our ideas to our Entrepreneurial Startups class. Our approach to take on the food waste produced by restaurants, which was by creating a platform, which they can sell their surplus food to consumers, was met with some constructive criticism.

Feedback

We presented our findings from our market research, initially interviewing restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, and chains. We found that our market of partners would be mainly targeted towards local restaurants and cafes instead of supermarkets and big chains. However, the feedback was to develop a customer persona to better define our market and to better understand who our customers are and further learn about their specific pain points in this area. Reflecting on this, I completely agree with this feedback. We casted a big net to many verticals since it was our first attempt at learning about the problems facing restaurants on this front. However, since we focused on many areas, we didn’t hone into the one that we needed to develop and focus more on.

Another area that we should have explored was learning about how to target the lunch times since we heavily focused on dinner times when restaurants were closing. However, there are many bakeries and restaurants that have their lunch time before switching to their dinner, which they could use our platform to sell these unsold lunch items. We will need to interview more specific restaurants to get more of their pain points and understand more about their lunch time operations.

Also, an interesting feedback from one of the mentors was going through the process of the “5-why’s” and just asking why restaurants are having this problem. Going through this process, we started to ask ourselves why were restaurants having a surplus amount of food at the end of the day? Was it their lack of inventory management? How did Covid further affect this problem? Many questions arose from going through the “5-why’s” process, which was very helpful.

Team Reflection

While meeting with the team after our presentation, we reflected on the feedback and decided to look at other areas that we can maybe pivot too as well. We began to explore how Covid has been affecting restaurants since they are the main stakeholders that have been negatively affected by Covid.

Many restaurants are failing and a lot of it is because of the lack of traffic and lack of digital automation that small businesses struggle to get up to par with. Two questions arose from that conversation, how can we help these small restaurants not fail and how can we help them automate into the digital new world that Covid presented to us?

Next Steps

Our next step is to consider all the feedback given, explore our questions by doing market research, build our customer persona, resubmit gate 1, and always be questioning how we can do better. I’m excited to continue working with the team since we have been working well together and see what we find from this exploration.

We have been making our interviews on our own and so the only thing I would change would be to make it more collaborative so one person can interview and the other can take notes. Other than that, we will continue to meet as often as we have been doing, which I always find helpful to get work done. This is just the beginning and our first attempt on tackling food waste and we’re excited about where this exploration will take us.

Northeastern University Student