Squad Starters

What is a Squad Starter?

A Squad Starter is an OLIOer who has approached a local business themselves and has signed them up to OLIO so that Food Waste Heroes can save their surplus food from going to waste by distributing it to the local OLIO Community via the app. 

Who can be a Squad Starter?

Anyone! If you’re an OLIOer and you want to get involved and help a local business become zero-edible-waste, we’d love you to become a Squad Starter. Just note that you must take the food safety training by registering as a Food Waste Hero before you can register as a Squad Starter.

Why does OLIO HQ want OLIOers to sign up businesses themselves?

OLIO has a small team, and though we’d love to, we simply don’t have the capacity to sign up thousands of smaller businesses for free surplus food collections. But the reality is that we have to make as many local businesses join OLIO to achieve our mission to reduce the amount of food that is wasted in our communities. That’s why we’re relying on our Squad Starters to kickstart things in their local communities and bring small local businesses onto OLIO.

How do I become a Squad Starter?

Become a Squad Starter by earning your in-app badge, and be a force for good in your neighbourhood.

Remember, as a Squad Starter you are signing businesses up to our Food Waste Heroes programme and you’ll hopefully be collecting from them too, alongside other Food Waste Heroes. You must therefore register as a Food Waste Hero and complete the food safety training first.

Once I register the business with OLIO, what is my role in the Squad?

We hope that once you’ve registered the business and we’ve set them up that you will stay on to lead the squad as Squad Captain. Unfortunately collections cannot begin until a Squad Captain is in place. 

This is a really exciting role and keeps you in touch with the business who you’ve signed up. You are allowed an additional collection slot at each new store you've signed on as a Squad Starter! Take a look at our Squad Captain FAQs to learn more.

The business says they don’t have surplus food all the time. What should I do?

Food Waste Heroes collect from many businesses which don’t have surplus food every day. Tell the business that the Food Waste Heroes can call ahead (about 1 hour before the collection time) to check if there is a collection needed that day.

If a business has extremely irregular surplus e.g. only when they clean out their store cupboard or fridges, then you can direct them to request a one-off Food Rescue by filling in the form as and when needed.


The business says they’re not allowed to give away any unsold surplus food. What should I do?

Ask the business why they’re not allowed to give away unsold food. If it’s because they’re concerned about food safety, please refer to the question below. If they’re concerned about giving away food for free that could otherwise be sold, reassure them that OLIO’s Food Waste Heroes will only take food that can no longer be sold as the final step to save it from the bin.


The business is concerned someone could fall ill from the food they give away via OLIO. What should I do?

OLIO has a local-authority-approved Food Safety Management System, including a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) study, and further practical guidelines. All Food Waste Heroes undergo food safety training as part of their registration process.

The Food Business Donor Agreement outlines food safety responsibilities of the business, the Food Waste Hero, and OLIO. The business is responsible for food safety up until it is collected by the Food Waste Hero, after which the food business is no longer liable.


I have approached a business and they’ve said ‘no’. What do I do next?

Don’t be disheartened by a rejection! It might take several no’s from businesses to get one yes so just keep going! If you’d like extra support to help you along the process, just get in touch.

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