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Restaurants & Bars

This App Helps Dallas Restaurants Reduce Waste and Sell Extra Food at a Discount

Too Good To Go will help North Texas restaurants and stores reduce waste and sell "surprise" bags filled with goods.
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A selection of goods in a Too Good To Go surprise bag. Courtesy of Too Good To Go

In a small home kitchen, leftovers are typically boxed in a few containers and saved for next-day lunches or dinners. At a restaurant or bakery, leftovers fill several bags, and most of the time, those bags have to be thrown away if they cannot be donated.

After a day of baking fresh cookies and brownies at Kessler Baking Studio, founder Clyde Greenhouse estimates that the Bishop Arts bakery produces between two to eight bags of extra baked goods every day. Each of those bags weighs a couple of pounds. At the end of each week, that means a haul of extra food is thrown out or donated.

Greenhouse and his staff try to recycle when they can and to not overuse ingredients. When their cookies have been sitting out a day or two, they slice them up into fingerling biscotti cookies that last about three months. There aren’t clever options for most other leftover baked goods, though.

“We have natural gas, we have electricity, we have water,” he says. “To minimize our effects on the environment and society, I’m always looking for ways to reduce waste.”

Too Good To Go wants to help solve that problem. The app launched in the Dallas area and throughout Texas this week. It has quietly been working with Kessler Baking Studio and other local businesses for the last few months.

“I was immediately drawn to them,” he says. “It fits with what we do here.”

The app partners with local businesses to package surplus food and sell it at a discounted price. A customer logs onto the app, finds a restaurant or store, and reserves a bag with a variety of offerings. There will be a designated time frame to pick up their purchase at the restaurant or store. Each one is a “surprise,” so there’s no way to know what’s inside them or whether they can accommodate certain diets. Each is first come, first serve, and there’s no delivery available.

It allows bakeries, cafes, restaurants, and gourmet grocery stores to sell extra food that would have been thrown out.

The app offers bundles for as low as $3.99 for a bag of baked goods to as high as $19.99 for a bag of groceries. Produce bags from Eataly Dallas range from $8.99 to $19.99 for something valued at $60. Readymade foods from places like Snap Kitchen, Fountain Kitchen, and Main Street Market & Eatery have options starting at $4.99. They go quickly. Some produce bags from Eataly were sold out by 5:31 a.m. Wednesday.

Too Good To Go launched in Austin in 2021, and its statewide expansion includes Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. Barbecue spots, Tex-Mex restaurants, and general stores are among the more than 500 participants.

Kessler Baking Studio has been experimenting with Too Good To Go surprise bags since February. Most of its bags are filled with a variety of cookies, shortbread, brownies, and blondies. On Sundays, there might be a cinnamon roll, but those are rare, Greenhouse says. He’ll sometimes throw in some biscotti if it’s time to replace the batch in the store.

The goods aren’t old. Greenhouse says cookies last up to five days and shortbread cookies keep for up to 30 days. But the bakery churns out so much product each day that there is frequently some left over. Greenhouse will package what’s left and put into the app how many goodie bags are available.

“It’s a natural pairing,” Greenhouse says. “I see a very long partnership with them.”

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun joined D Magazine as the online dining editor in 2022. She previously worked at the Dallas Morning News,…
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