Which businesses to approach

What kinds of businesses can I approach?

We have a whole page dedicated on how and who to approach, but to summarise, you're welcome to approach local independent stores to sign them up to OLIO.


Who can't I approach?

Please do not approach any chains (i.e. any store with 3 or more locations). Whilst our Squad Starters previously were able to sign on chain stores and supermarkets (e.g. Sainsbury's, The Co-op, Costa Coffee), as of November 2020 this is no longer actively encouraged.


Why can't I approach chains anymore?

Based on learnings from the past 2+ years, we don't actively encourage Food Waste Heroes anymore to approach food businesses that have 3 or more outlets.

There are two main reasons behind this:

  1. Getting into the nitty-gritty with a large food business to decide how to collect and distribute surplus food can get really complicated. We therefore think this is a job for professionals who have the relevant experience in food safety, supply chain, and sales. We cannot (and wouldn't!) expect our Squad Starter volunteers to negotiate terms with a large food business!
  2. We believe you can be a for-profit company, and still do good work, and our community is the proof of it! Unlike others, OLIO is not a charity which means we rely on revenue to exist. Therefore, charging large food businesses a fee to recuperate some of the costs that occur in the development of the app, the Volunteer Hub, the customer support for Food Waste Heroes, and the Food Waste Hero recruitment costs is vital. The Food Waste Heroes programme is free for the majority of businesses we work with which want the basic version, but we charge companies that want the fully-automated solution.


We are still *incredibly* keen for our Squad Starters to speak with local, independent stores (think of the cafes, bakeries, delis, and greengrocers on your high street) because we still want to help them become zero-edible-waste stores. For these local stores we are able to reduce our costs by leaving the collections in the hands of our capable volunteer Squad Captains rather than managing them directly, hence we are able to continue to offer collections for free.

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