Customers can place orders via the Keepeat app and then pick up their food directly from the outlet. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Restaurants everywhere have a problem they need to chew on.

At the end of each business day, what can be done with the food that has not been used up?

A Dubai-based app developer seems to have come up with an answer to that.

The Keepeat App allows restaurants to list all their available fresh food at discounted prices of a minimum 50 per cent.

Those who want to buy can place the order via the app and then pick up their order directly from the outlet.

“The food outlets will be gaining additional revenue on surplus food that would have otherwise been thrown away,” Ena Basic, CEO of Keepeat, said.

“Moreover, our app will help the food outlets in attracting new customers by increasing their visibility.”

The chief executive said the food outlets have an option to specify at what time their daily sale will go live.

“As soon as the sale goes live, the customers will get a pop-up notification on their phones.

“Our application allows food outlets to have multiple daily sales — hence lunch items sometimes (can) go live after lunch hours while other items become available towards the end of the day.”

Based on official estimates, the value of wasted food in the UAE could be around Dh13 billion each year.

And the cost of discarded food in Dubai alone could total Dh282 million.

So, anything that can reduce such waste of good food and even make money should strike a chord with restaurant operators.

The Trader’s House at Dubai World Trade Centre has signed up as an early client of Keepeat.

As per the app’s requirements, only food good enough to be sold will be available. Anything that has passed the allowed hours will “never be offered for sale”.

Will the formula work only with fine dining establishments? According to Basic, “We do not limit ourselves to fine dining establishments. Instead, we are happy to partner with any food selling outlet that wants to become an environment champion.

“The actual fulfilment process is carried out by the restaurants and consumers. However, we have dedicated staff supporting the restaurants whenever needed in terms of technical support.”

At the broader level, the UAE’s F&B business is going through an end-to-end digital-led disruption. Placing orders — whether for takeaways or in-dining — has already made the transition into this space and so has order delivery. Now, to have listings for excess food is just part of that natural progression.