Last Call for Last Call
A note from co-founder Erin McGeoy:
After three years of fighting food waste and providing affordable meals to the community, we have made the difficult decision to make the last call announcement for Last Call for Food. We are so proud of the community that rallied around Last Call to save more than 5,000 pounds of food from the bin, and are inspired by the incredible stories and conversations that came from it.
While it’s sad to say goodbye to Last Call, the fight against food waste continues. I am transitioning my efforts to work with Too Good To Go, a European-based B Corp that has saved 75 million+ meals globally since 2016. They are an app with a mission very similar to Last Call, and I will be helping grow their restaurant base in the D.C. area. I am nostalgic for the Last Call chapter to close, and am also excited to bring my knowledge and drive to a global community that has already made so much progress in the fight against food waste.
Launching and running Last Call over the past three years has been the most rewarding and challenging experience of my life. As I reflect on this time, I realize how much I have learned about how to be a better businesswoman and person in general. Here are four of my biggest takeaways I wanted to share:
Lean into a network of support.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
When your passion for change is obvious, people naturally gravitate towards helping you achieve the vision you have for the world. Especially if it is with good intentions, and socially and environmentally focused.
I was vocal about my story of skipping meals to survive in college, which unfortunately resonated with many students. Nearly half of college students are regularly hungry. Students from universities across the country were moved by Last Call’s story and vision. With the help of more than 100 ambassadors, we started a grassroots movement that inspired much-needed conversations about food insecurity on campus, and much-needed action about food waste.
I am appreciative of the community that supported the vision of Last Call every step of the way. I am grateful for the ambassadors, mentors, family, friends, and colleagues who listened to me rant about our broken food system and pitch Last Call more than they probably would have liked.
Build something you would buy.
The best innovations come from a personal need.
Jen Rubio, co-founder of Away suitcases, was running through an airport when her suitcase broke and all of her belongings exploded over the airport terminal. Her need for a better suitcase was what birthed the global, sensational Away brand.
The birth of Last Call came from a genuine need for more affordable food. I couldn’t afford three meals a day and was angered that 40% of all food produced in America is wasted. I was surprised there wasn’t urgent action to fix this environmental and social issue, so I created the change I wanted to see, with a product that I needed. I was one of Last Call’s most frequent customers.
Always show interest in others. Listen, and ask questions.
“The man who believes he knows everything knows nothing.” -Mark Manson
One mistake I made early on in my entrepreneurial journey was not listening. I was so excited to sell Last Call that I didn’t let my prospective users share their biggest pain points with me. Never assume you know what the market needs. Go talk to a diverse group of 150 potential customers and ask them unbiased, non-leading questions before you invest your time and money into a solution you think everyone needs. (I attribute this huge learning to the National Science Foundation I-Corps Go program).
Trust the process, and know that everything will take longer than you think.
I was sure we’d win GW’s New Venture Competition in 2018. We had a great idea and the passion necessary. Not advancing to the finals was devastating at the time, but knowing what I know now, a blessing in disguise. The day after we learned we did not advance, my co-founder Chloe King and I made a commitment to winning every category the next time around. We spent the next 365 days working to be the best company possible, envisioning ourselves on that stage, and collecting all the data and validation that we needed to secure first place in multiple categories in GW’s New Venture Competition in 2019.
Transitioning my efforts away from Last Call and into Too Good to Go has been a bittersweet process. Being a social entrepreneur and the founder of Last Call is such an important part of my identity, and I was fearful that by joining a new company I would be leaving that behind. I have realized that my story does not end here and my new position will only serve to amplify others’ stories.
I hope you all consider downloading the Too Good To Go app, and continue to follow me along this new and exciting journey. I hope you continue to feel moved to share stories of student food insecurity with me and others. No matter what title or company is associated with my name, I will continue to advocate for what is right, and that is everyone, especially students, having sufficient access to nutritious food, and no food ending up in the landfill.