102: Andrew Glantz (GiftAMeal)

Andrew Glantz on Innovation City

“Start early. Test things out and fail and perform small experiments to learn. Otherwise, if you’re waiting [for the perfect time] you could yield nothing.” — Andrew Glantz

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Andrew Glantz, Founder & CEO at GiftAMeal. GiftAMeal is an app that provides a meal to someone in need each time customers dine at a partner restaurant. Andrew sits down with the team to discuss the importance of removing barriers in the donation process, the value of being a purpose driven organization, his love for the St. Louis startup scene, his advice for startups looking to scale up, and much more!

They discuss:

  • His passion for giving back stems back to his childhood
  • Starting his nonprofit work in high school
  • Not being afraid to ask for money/donations
  • Donors respond better to donation requests when there is a clear tangible outcome
    • Ex. If you give $10, then you’re giving a child school lunches for 3 days
    • Ex. If you give $25, then you’re giving a family 3 bags of groceries for the week
  • The importance of removing barriers in the donation process
  • How does GiftAMeal work?
    • GiftAMeal is an app that provides a meal to someone in need each time you dine at a partner restaurant
  • The value of being a purpose driven organization
  • Getting inspiration from the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
  • Taking millennial’s love for giving back and taking food pictures and combining them into something meaningful
  • 25K+ users on the app
    • Data has shown that the app users continue to go back to those restaurants, have higher bills, & tip more
  • If users share their photo on social media outside of the app, GiftAMeal will donate additional meals
  • GiftAMeal users provide a form of branding/marketing collateral for the restaurants with the images posted
  • His love for the St. Louis startup scene
    • The ecosystem allows startups to grow steadily while scaling up instead of rushing the process
  • Finding many angel investors who want to make a profit, but more importantly want to make an impact
  • GiftAMeal is currently in St. Louis, Chicago, & Detroit
    • Over 150 restaurant partners
    • Over 25,000 app users
    • Given over 300,000 meals
  • Meals are given to families all over their designated cities, as not to limit anyone having access
  • Recently hired 2 full time employees
  • Furthering their partnership with Operation Food Search
  • Looking for ways to create a referral program for food banks
  • Andrew hopes to take GiftAMeal nationwide in the coming years
  • Advice for startups looking to scale up:
    • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
    • Think through contingency plans for different things you can experiment with
    • Test things out early to allow for failures and learning
  • Providing the partner restaurants with promo materials to place around the restaurant
  • Download the app on Apple App Store and Google Play Store
  • Connect with GiftAMeal via Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter
  • Reach out to Andrew on LinkedIn