This Finnish Entrepreneur Has Taken His Waste Food Service To London and NYC

    Meet Mikko Valtonen, the first Finnish waste food entrepreneur. In the last few weeks he has opened his BuffetGo service in London and New York City.

    There’s traffic in the foodtech scene – but who will the biggest food waste reducer of them all? Photo: Shutterstock

    BuffetGo service, which shares info of well-discounted unsold restaurant portions at a time when the restaurants close, has been running since early 2015 in Helsinki.

    It has no links to Helsinki’s LunchGate scandal where Lunchie app, which is in testing phase and yet to be launched to public, is claiming ResQ Club stole their idea of selling unsold portions when it launched its service last month.

    By today ResQ has some 4,000 users and more than 20 restaurants have signed up to share their portions on the app.

    To be fair there are two different types of food waste services. ResQ and Lunchie are more like French OptiMiam, which raised 500,000 euros earlier this week, mobile app based solutions, while BuffetGo is more of a web platform selling food only at closing times and the restaurants do not need to upload portions or create different discounts on a continuous basis.

    Like many startup entrepreneurs Valtonen witnessed a real-life solution – dozens of people queuing at the door of a restaurant in Helsinki’s Pasila suburb at a time when the restaurant was about to close the doors – and then built a scalable web solution.

    “I brought the closing time concept to the web, as far as I know I was the first one globally,” he told ArcticStartup in an interview. To avoid hurting sales its something the restaurant never advertised so the message of discounted food had spread through the staff.

    BuffetGo’s international growth was significantly boosted by Valtonen’s accidental choice of right landlord during his April 2015 visit of Copenhagen.

    The landlord of his Airbnb joint was so fascinated about the idea that he helped to launch the service in Danish capital and then moved on to the United States to launch it also in New York. BuffetGo is used by some 45 restaurants in Denmark, out of which 30 are in Copenhagen area. More than dozen restaurants use the service in New York.

    After taking the service to the big towns of this world, what’s next for BuffetGo?

    “Food waste on retail side is really interesting, we could build a solution also there.”