Developing an app that helps to cut down on food waste is actually the second business enterprise that Danish entrepreneur Mette Lykke has undertaken after leaving a big consulting firm in 2007. Her first endeavor was a sports training app that she and her partners developed under the brand label Endomondo.
The growth of smartphones vastly increased the app's user base, which eventually increased to 20 million users, according to the BBC. She and her partners sold the company for $85 million.
Seeking more worlds to conquer, Mette stumbled on a business that was developed by five young Danish entrepreneurs. It uses an app that allows restaurants to sell their excess food rather than throw it away. Users can connect to participating businesses and find out which ones are selling excess food and when they can pick it up.
Mette was so impressed with the concept that she invested in the company, called Too Good to Go, and is now its chief executive officer, The company has enjoyed explosive growth, with 18 million users and 30,000 food suppliers participating. The company operates in 12 European countries and employs 450 people.
The customer base of Too Good To Go includes students in search of a bargain, environmentally conscious families, and, oddly, women over 50. 45,000 customers are being added to the app each day.
The success of Too Good To Go offers a lesson to managers, especially in the restaurant and supermarket industry. They can set up a side business to sell food that is close to its expiration date at a discount, creating a new profit source. What was once waste that was tossed out to clog landfills, to rot and emit methane, can now be used to make more money and to feed people. It's another case of doing good and fighting food waste by doing well and making money doing so.