Tech Startups Address Food Waste Issues

Anne Kadet indicated yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Forget Bitcoin or shares of My current market obsession is the wild swings in the price of the pu pu platter for two at Lichee Nut, the Chinese restaurant in my Brooklyn neighborhood.

While diners who order at the restaurant pay $16.50 for the platter, folks using Gebni, an app offering dynamic, demand-based pricing on deliveries from several hundred restaurants around the city see different rates throughout the day.

“On a Sunday afternoon, the platter price sank to $12.44 before climbing to $13.21 using the Gebni app. The next day, the price started at $14.86, dropped to $12.43 by midafternoon and shot up to $15.01 in time for dinner.”

The Journal article noted that, “Gebni is one of several local startups trying to solve a continuing logistical dilemma: There is likely enough prepared food to affordably feed everyone in New York, but a lot winds up in the dumpster.

“‘The food waste problem is a big issue. We need a whole bunch of startups coming together to try to solve it,’ says Mohamed Merzouk, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Gebni.

“Gebni’s discounts, which depend on both overall order demand and demand for specific dishes, range up to 35%. But customers never pay more than a restaurant’s standard menu price. ‘We do the reverse of surge pricing,’ says Mr. Merzouk.”

Ms. Kadet added that, “Given all the grub that winds up in the garbage, there’s plenty of room for growth, says [Transfernation, a not-for-profit startup, has its network of independent contractors—often Uber and Lyft drivers who are already on the streets—pick up leftover food for delivery to the nearest shelter, co-founder Hannah Dehradunwala], who estimates 30,000 to 35,000 pounds of prepared food hits the city’s trash stream each day. ‘We have enough food. Really great food. The only issue is to get it to where it can be used quickly.'”

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