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The Till App: Connecting Restaurants and Community Members to Help Reduce Food Waste

Oct 20, 2021
Takeout food laid out on a table

GroupSolver® worked closely with Till Kühn, the founder of the till app to crowdsource perceptions and preferences towards his new food delivery app.

Making an Impact, One Meal at a Time

Every year, 108 billion pounds of food–approximately $161 billion dollars’ worth–is wasted in the United States. This wasted food has an immense impact on the environment and our society. When food is wasted, we also waste all the energy, land and water used to grow, process, transport, and package it. On top of that, the food that ends up in landfills produces large quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

Not only does food waste negatively impact the environment, but it results in an enormous welfare loss for the millions of people facing food insecurity in the United States. Of all the food that is wasted, at least 22 billion pounds is thrown away by full-service or limited-service restaurants. If this food was repurposed instead of thrown out, it would prove invaluable for individuals who cannot typically afford restaurant or take-out food.

Unfortunately, there is a huge gap between this surplus in food and the number of people that have access to it.

The till app aims to change that. Till is an app that strives to reduce food waste, work against food insecurity, and support community restaurants by having restaurants sell their excess food for a discounted price to nearby customers. The goal of the app is to provide a win-win solution where restaurants can cut down food waste and gain extra revenue while offering affordable takeout food for those who live on a tight budget or face food insecurity.

Till teamed up with GroupSolver® on this Impact Brief to better understand what users think about the app concept and gain insights for improving it. This included evaluating users’ perception of UI/UX, use cases, benefits and more.

GroupSolver® collected feedback from 205 respondents that helped till evaluate different features of the app and ensure the concept resonates with potential customers before launch.

The till App Makes a Great First Impression

To gauge respondents’ initial thoughts and reactions to the app concept, respondents were shown a description of the app and asked what words, phrases or thoughts came to mind.

This is the description that was presented:

“Till is an innovative app striving to eliminate food waste and support community restaurants. On till, restaurants post their excess food for a discounted price to nearby customers. till users can browse the day’s unique food offerings, then order and pay on till. A QR code and time frame are sent on the app for an effortless pick-up process. Restaurants earn extra cash, customers pay less, and everyone helps reduce food waste!”

Respondents’ initial reactions to this concept were overwhelmingly positive. One participant explained, “I like it because it helps reduce food waste”, which was supported by 97% of respondents who were asked to agree or disagree with the statement. Many also agreed that “This would be amazing” (86% support) and noted that the app “Helps provide food for less” (75% support). Other words respondents used to describe the app were convenient (85%), helpful (84%), and resourceful (81%).

After reading the description of this app, what words, phrases, or thoughts come to mind?

GroupSolver IdeaCloud™ on app opinions and thoughts
IdeaCloud™

Overall, respondents were able to easily identify the value of the app and were highly supportive of the concept. When asked how appealing the app sounds, 87% of respondents found the app at least somewhat appealing, and 50% found it very appealing.

Gauging Respondents’ Thoughts on App Logistics

Respondents’ initial impressions of the app were positive, but till also wanted to understand how people felt about specific aspects of the concept. This included evaluating respondents’ thoughts on buying leftover food, having a smaller selection of food items, and pick-up versus delivery.

Taking Advantage of Leftovers

When respondents were asked how they would feel about buying food for a reduced price that was not sold earlier that day from a restaurant, the majority agreed that they “Don’t see any issue with it why let food go to waste when you can help someone in need” (84% support). Others agreed that “I like the idea because it helps me save money while supporting a good cause” (77% support).

While many were unphased by the idea of leftover food and recognized its value, others explained that “I would personally would probably not do it but I think it would be good for people who can’t afford the food normally” (67%).

Smaller Selection Better Prices

In general, respondents don’t seem to mind that their meal options on the app would be more limited than what’s offered on the restaurant’s official menu. When asked, “How likely are you to accept a smaller selection of food items if you could get drastically reduced prices and do some good for the environment?”, 79% of respondents reported being at least somewhat likely, with 40% being very likely. In contrast, only 7% reported being unlikely to accept the smaller selection.

It’s Worth it for Delivery

82% of respondents reported being likely to order food through the app even if they have to pick it up themselves (only 5% were unlikely), but they’re also willing to pay even more for delivery. When asked, “How comfortable would you feel about above-average delivery fees if you saved at least 40% on the actual meal?”, we found that the majority (75%) were comfortable and only 10% were uncomfortable.

Overall, the benefits of lower prices, convenience and making a positive impact on society far outweighed the few caveats to accessing these meals at a lower cost.

Respondents Are Hooked – And Willing to Try it Out

To better understand how the app works, respondents were shown a couple of short videos to see what the process of ordering food looks like.

 

After viewing the videos and learning about the app, the majority of respondents (80%) indicated that they would be at least somewhat likely to download and use the app.

Bar graph likelihood to use the app

Of the 7% who were unlikely to download and use the app, some explained that “I have no need for it” (42% support). While others indicated they would like to see some reviews before testing it out: “I would have to know more or hear what others have to say who have tried it” (37% support).

Overall, the majority of respondents were interested in downloading and using the app. In addition, 72% of respondents said their willingness to use the app would be impacted if they knew that a percentage of the money would go to charity. When asked how their willingness to use the app would be impacted, 92% agreed that they would be “Very much more likely [to use it]” and explained that it would impact their decision to use the app “Because I would be buying food going to waste while also donating money to those in need” (92% support).

These results indicate that the societal benefits that the app provides play a key role in potential customers’ likelihood and willingness to use the app.

The App That Keeps on Giving

Overall, after seeing the app description and videos, respondents seemed to love the app, and had almost exclusively positive things to say. When asked if they had any additional feedback to share, respondents reemphasized their interest in the app’s impact on society stating that “It’s very innovative and will make a positive impact to the people and the economy” (80% support) and “I overall like this app, especially knowing that the money goes to charity” (81% support). Others gave positive remarks related to the functionality of the app stating that it “Looks easy to use” (85%) and “Looks time saving” (75%).

These results provided till key insights on how users perceive the app and allowed the team to move forward with confidence as they fine-tuned their concept and marketing efforts before launch. This app provides an innovative solution that addresses numerous societal issues from reducing food waste and helping the environment to providing low-cost options for those on a tight budget. It’s clear that respondents recognize its’ value and are excited to see this concept come to life.

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GroupSolver® would like to thank the till team for their work in creating positive change for the environment, the community and greater society. For more studies on important societal issues, check out our recent Impact Brief on Caregiving, The Invisible Full-Time Job and learn about how this role is pivotal to individuals’ well-being and the nation’s economy.

Do you have a societal research question you’d like to study? Impact Briefs has your answer! We’ll help you design a study, collect data on the GroupSolver® platform, and share with you access to the platform. Contact us at impactbriefs@groupsolver.com for more info.

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