Lucie Basch: How We Built An App That Saved 300 Million Meals From The Landfill

Too Good To Go has grown to 85 million users in just a few years, working to solve the food waste crisis. Here's how they did it.

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Hey! Shamus here, and welcome to another edition of The Dealroom, a newsletter (and podcast) sharing the stories of world-class entrepreneurs to inspire the next generation. Now, onto the story of Too Good To Go!

Co-Founder Lucie Basch shares the story:

“When I was working in food factories, I discovered that the way we produce food today is the same as if we would produce fridges, electronics, or cars. We don't really think about what ingredients we put in that are going to have an impact on our environment.

When I realized that it's actually part of the production process to waste a lot of food by producing faster and making the cost cheaper, that’s when I found that my values were not aligned with what was what I was spending my time on.

I needed to change something.

I decided to put my energy and my time towards something that was really meaningful for me. And that was the fight against food waste. We throw away 40% of all the food we produce, and that's responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. I decided I didn't want to be part of the old food system anymore. I wanted to contribute to creating the new one.

That’s when the idea of Too Good To Go started to come to my mind.

I took a pen and paper and tried to put my ideas down. I literally drew out my idea for the app, but I couldn't code. So, I found someone better than me to do that.

One of the most important things I did at that time was to share the idea with as many people as possible. You often hear, ‘Protect your idea and make sure that no one steals it because they're going to do it faster than you.’ For me, I was so willing to reduce food waste and find a solution for it that, in a way, the more people knew, the merrier.

By sharing the idea with more and more people, I found some people who started to do the same thing I wanted to do. So, before I even started I had competitors who were working on a website and wanted to build an app.

So I called my ‘competitors’ who were in Denmark at that time. One of them was a developer, and that's how I found my co-founders.

The idea was if we convinced bakeries to join the platform, they would be able to sell excess food to the users of our app at the end of the day instead of throwing everything away.

[There was a problem, though. We had no users]

So, I went into the streets, knocking on all the bakery doors. I had never done sales in my life, and I didn't know what it was like to just take a door to your face. But it's all about being persistent and convincing, and because you're so convinced, you actually get to convince others.

[Since we were successful going door to door, we began hiring salespeople] Now we have more than 500 people sitting in 17 different countries doing all different types of sales jobs. We're lucky as well that now more stores hear about us from word of mouth, the internet, and also food waste has become more of a thing [compared to 10 years ago]. Leading to a lot of stores looking for solutions. And because Too Good To Go is the global leader, they come to us really quickly.

We now have more than 85 million users on our platform. 10% of them are in the US. It's also great for your brand because, on top of that, we send you back money at the end of each quarter for the bags you've saved.”

Q: How does your business make money?

“For every bag that is purchased on the platform, we take a commission. That's actually our main KPI, which is perfectly linked with our revenue because, for every bag saved, we take a fixed commission.”

For the full story of Too Good To Go, you can listen to my full interview with Lucie Basch on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or by clicking the image below.

Have a productive week!


Founder of Dealroom Media