Study unwraps benefits of GiftAMeal for food bank, coffee shop, Jewish founder says

BY ERIC BERGER ASSOCIATE EDITOR

If you’re looking to feel the buzz that comes from being charitable rather than just the sort that comes from caffeine, a Jewish Washington University alum has some news for you.

Andrew Glantz, a co-founder of GiftAMeal, an app that allows you to provide a meal to people in need via your social media posts, recently completed a 16-month study with a coffee shop in south St. Louis that demonstrates how the app’s model can benefit both restaurants and food pantries, he said.

With the GiftAMeal app, users take photos of their purchases at restaurants, and in exchange for that photo, a meal is donated to a local food bank. If the user also shares the picture on social media, that can amount to up to four additional meals provided to the bank. The money to pay for those meals comes from restaurants’ monthly subscription to the app, which Glantz and Aidan Folbe launched in 2015.

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But considering that many restaurants have struggled to stay open during the pandemic, what’s in it for them?

According to the study, which was conducted by GiftAMeal with the cooperation of Espresso Yourself Coffee & Café, customers who used the app spent 11% more per transaction than customers who did not use the app; returned 51% more frequently and tipped 49% more. And the restaurants also receive attention via the social media posts.

Glantz said the company produced the results by comparing credit card transactions from GiftAMeal and non-GiftAMeal customers through the point-of-sale platform Clover.

“We are loving our partnership with GiftAMeal!” Jules Karagiannis, co-owner of Espresso Yourself, which is located at 5531 Devonshire Ave., stated in a news release. “It falls directly in alignment with the mission and values of Espresso Yourself Coffee & Cafe, and the business impact has been lovely to see. It really shows how much this program resonates with our guests, who feel as strongly about giving back to our community as we do.” 

The partnership over 16 months with Espresso Yourself also resulted in 1,225 meals distributed through Operation Food Search, a local food bank. 

“We saw that GiftAMeal customers got even better during the pandemic. We saw that rallying around local restaurants effect” from “GiftAMeal customers,” Glantz, who is from Los Angeles and now lives in St. Louis, told the Jewish Light. “We are hoping to both continue this impact and magnify this impact for the future, providing thousands of more meals for those in need, and continuing to engage Espresso Yourself’s customer base in this socially responsible experience so that they contribute to this cause while also supporting an awesome, socially-conscious business.”