My name is Carly Haberfield and I am a rising junior double majoring in economics & strategy and marketing. This summer, I’ve been lucky to work at a start-up called GiftAMeal. GiftAMeal is a socially-conscious dining app that partners with local restaurants to help feed community members in need. For each photo a user takes on the app at a partner location, GiftAMeal makes a donation to a local food bank.
GiftAMeal was founded by WashU-grad Andrew Glantz while he was still a student in 2017. I’ve admired the concept of GiftAMeal ever since my orientation to the Olin Business School during my first week of freshman year when we attended a panel with the founder, and lo and behold I’m working here 2 years later!
As an intern, I work on everything from social media management to restaurant sales. I also write public relations pieces, blog posts and emails, do research, edit the website, distribute promotional materials, assist with data entry and recruiting, and brainstorm new ideas for the company.
One of my most significant accomplishments during the internship has been increasing the social media content interactions by 28.4% within the first 6 weeks of working at GiftAMeal. I learned a few things about using social media for businesses that helped make this happen. First, I created a standard format for the captions that has 3 sections: an attention grabber, a description of the restaurant, and a call to action. I also interact with restaurants by commenting and liking their photos, which led to restaurants following us on Instagram and being more open to setting up a meeting and signing up for the program. Also, I learned the importance of using the most effective hashtags on posts to gain new followers.
I also find the sales process to be an exciting part of the company. The sales process involves cold-calling to set up in-person or virtual meetings with restaurant owners. Sales is all about reading your audience and being genuine. While explaining the value of GiftAMeal to restaurant owners, I emphasize different points depending on the type of restaurant. For small restaurants, I highlight how GiftAMeal can lead to new customer acquisition and increased customer loyalty. For bigger restaurants, I emphasize how GiftAMeal helps restaurants stand out from the crowd through a corporate social responsibility program that involves the customers.
In the process of meeting with restaurant owners, I’ve learned a lot about the restaurant industry. An industry trend that has been evident is that restaurant owners are understaffed following the pandemic. Customers are excited to eat out and staff are working extra hard to keep up with crowds. Because of this, I emphasize that GiftAMeal is an effortless way to make customers and staff happier.
My favorite aspect of working at a start-up is the impact that I get to have. Because GiftAMeal is still in the growth stage, every single sale, news article, or new idea makes a difference. I feel lucky to have such a hands-on internship at a company that is helping the community. I can’t wait to see GiftAMeal grow to a national company and know that I played a small role in the journey.