Can You Game the Food App Too Good To Go? People Are Trying.

Meal bargains while cutting down on food waste is an excellent combination

Too Good to Go bag
The potential of uncanny food bargains is hard to resist.
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When Too Good To Go arrived on the scene, it was touted as a kind of win-win scenario where food waste was concerned. The concept behind it is simple: it lets restaurants sell deeply discounted food that would otherwise be destined for the garbage, such as meals nearing their expiration date and incorrect orders. The app first made a name for itself in Europe, and more recently arrived in the United States.

It’s also a way for restaurant enthusiasts to get highly discounted food, if the timing is right. A Too Good To Go representative quoted in a 2022 New York Times story said that app users should expect to food for roughly a third of what they’d pay for it under normal circumstances. In other words, paying $4 in the app should yield at least $12 worth of food.

It may not surprise readers to learn that some of the app’s most dedicated users have approached the process with an eye towards strategy. At Eater Chicago, Pearse Anderson chronicled the work that some Too Good To Go users are putting in with the aim of getting a meal from an especially buzzy restaurant — a process that can involve dedicated Reddit forums and TikTok accounts, along with regular use of timers and alarms.

Anderson’s article begins with a specific item: $30 worth of pasta from Eataly, sold on the app for $9.99 and generally gone within 60 seconds. It’s like trying to buy Taylor Swift tickets, but with fewer bots and more savory meals.

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The Eater article also doubles as a good introduction to the communities that have cropped up around the app and the ways in which people use it. And if it prompts you to do some research and buy some food and cut back on the amount of food waste out there, so much the better.


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