GiftAMeal is a socially conscious dining app where each review and picture of food at a partnering restaurant equals a meal donated to a local food pantry. Coming up with this idea while in college, founder Andrew Glantz has quickly turned GiftAMeal into a massive success with almost half a million meals donated. In his interview, he shares what he believes has been the “key to his success” this far, the best advice he has ever received, and much more.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in Los Angeles, CA and moved to St. Louis to attend Washington University in St. Louis. One summer, I had a venture capital internship and while on a lunch break I came up with the original idea for GiftAMeal. I put my savings behind the idea and never looked back.
What do you wish you knew before you first started GiftAMeal?
I wish I knew more about the process of building a minimum viable product, testing, learning, and iterating. At the beginning, I would try to do everything at once and that led to many failures and lost time to figure out how to scale GiftAMeal.
What has been the largest obstacle you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?
The largest obstacle I had to overcome was figuring out how to prove value to our restaurant clients. I overcame it by figuring out how to conduct in-depth data analysis to conduct case studies to show that GiftAMeal customers spend more per check, return more frequently, and tip more than standard customers.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my career is that we have provided nearly half a million meals to those in need through GiftAMeal so far.
What do you think has been the "key" to your success this far?
The key to my success so far is being transparent, trustworthy, and genuine with our customers, investors, and team.
How has failure helped you later in life? Can you share any specific lessons you have learned?
I constantly fail with various tactics with GiftAMeal -- I don't harp on them and consider them failures though. I count them as learnings as what doesn't work.
What is some of the best advice you ever received? Some of the worst?
The best advice I ever received is to ask for help from others - people are generally willing to say yes to help you if you ask kindly.
Some of the worst advice is when people say their suggestion for your business is the only way it will work - you know your business best at the end of the day so when it is helpful to listen to others' advice, you should take it with many grains of salt.
What is some advice you can give to an aspiring high school entrepreneur?
My advice would be to go out and do it. Don't just spend time developing the idea - get out there and talk to whomever the potential customers would be to get their insights. Build the basic product in a super inexpensive way to test it out and learn before diving into the full blown product.
Check out GiftAMeal's website here!