Introducing Our Grantees!

We’re thrilled to be supporting this portfolio of top-notch organizations with vast potential to tackle restaurant food waste.

Afterlife Ag is a mushroom farming company offering a circular solution that allows restaurants to divert their food waste from landfills and then purchase the mushrooms grown from the otherwise wasted food.

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Center for EcoTechnology (CET) offers direct technical assistance to food businesses on wasted food reduction, recovery, and recycling and is developing a train-the-trainer program to enable other organizations to replicate CET's work and offer technical assistance to restaurants in their communities.

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ConnectedFresh Company uses sensors and AI to identify and flag issues with food safety and aging equipment, preventing significant spoilage and emergency repairs and is enhancing their 24/7 monitoring solutions to include advanced inventory management and waste tracking for restaurants.

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Food Rescue US is implementing a data-sharing feature within their existing food rescue web-based app to make food donation easier for restaurants by creating a dedicated API endpoint that will seamlessly integrate with the POS systems commonly used by restaurants.

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Green Dining Alliance certifies restaurants for sustainability and will offer restaurants an opportunity to receive direct support to implement and track food waste reduction strategies.

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Prism is developing a storage system designed for restaurants that uses a controlled atmosphere to extend the lifespan of fresh produce.

toast logo

This open call is made possible by the generous support of our anchor funder,, which is dedicated to enriching the food experience for all and creating a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable world. is the social impact arm of Toast, the cloud-based, all-in-one technology platform that helps restaurants streamline operations, increase revenue, and deliver amazing guest experiences.

Eligibility Criteria

To partake in the pilot, restaurants must fulfill the following eligibility requirements.


Willing and available to work collaboratively with a grantee starting in Q2 2024 through at least October 2024.


Are a small-to-medium-sized independent restaurant (ideally with less than 10 locations).


Based in the United States.

If your restaurant meets these criteria, we invite you to submit a brief intake form by March 25, 2024

Please note we will do our best to match qualifying restaurants with pilot solutions, but if we are unable to accommodate your request to participate, we’ll notify you by May 31, 2024.

Pilot Details & Timeline

Matching Restaurants with Select Grantees

Participating restaurants will be provided with a curated list of grantees that best fit the restaurant’s interests and needs as indicated in their submitted intake form. The list will include key details about the grantee’s solution, and the restaurant can select which organization they would like to work with. Restaurants will also have the opportunity to speak directly with the listed grantees if helpful in selecting a solution to pilot.

General Timeline

The application and selection process takes ~4-6 months and goes through the following phases:


Restaurants selected to participate in the pilots

Target deadline:

May 31, 2024


Solution providers begin Pilot Design Phase

Target Design Period:

June - July 2024


Restaurants & solution providers collaborate and align on the scope of the Pilot Execution Phase

Target Start:

August 2024

*We anticipate that each pilot timeline will be customized to meet the needs of the restaurant and will have varying end dates.

Questions about the Pilot Opportunity?

With questions about the Catalytic Grant Fund and the opportunity to pilot, contact Angel Veza at [email protected]

Current Open Call

Serving Up Food Waste Solutions To Restaurants

We often perceive wasted food as the cost of doing business in independent restaurants. But today, with supply chain disruptions, the growing cost of food, and staffing challenges, those costs are becoming increasingly burdensome, creating an opening to reframe food waste reduction as the critical opportunity it is – to drive operational efficiency, deliver unique customer experiences, improve profit margins, and/or create a competitive advantage.

That's why our current open call for the Catalytic Grant Fund is focused on accelerating the adoption of food waste solutions for restaurants. We're looking for proven or pilot-ready solutions that are simple, affordable, and convenient to implement and/or have a strong business case for small to medium-sized independent restaurants – including increased cost savings, improved staff retention, higher customer acquisition, and more.

And to bolster the catalytic nature of this open call, we're excited to announce that a subset of the selected grantees will get a unique opportunity to pilot their solution with restaurants.

This open call is made possible by the generous support of our anchor funder,, which is dedicated to enriching the food experience for all and creating a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable world. is the social impact arm of Toast, the cloud-based, all-in-one technology platform that helps restaurants streamline operations, increase revenue, and deliver amazing guest experiences.

Open Call Requirements

Proposals for this open call must demonstrate the following in their Letter of Intent in order to be considered for funding:


Are pilot-ready OR successfully implementing proven solutions and best practices in restaurants


Can reduce restaurant food waste in a simple, affordable, and convenient way and/or demonstrate a strong business case


Be operating in the United States OR seeking funding to expand to the United States.

Proposals that could be a strong fit for this open call could include but are not limited to:

  • Solutions that can be easily integrated into existing operations that can compare restaurants’ inventory and sales

  • Modular, refrigerated storage systems to store otherwise wasted byproducts and surplus food for pick-up

  • Solutions to support standardized, consistent portioning when plating food

  • Co-branding opportunities, particularly ones that maximize the value of commonly wasted byproducts and trim in restaurant settings (e.g., coffee grounds, citrus peels, egg shells, etc.) such as upcycling solutions

  • Implementation of varying serving sizes (e.g., full serving, half serving)

  • Solutions to address waste generated on the line in full-service restaurants, where there typically isn’t space for a compost bin

  • AI-powered robots that can minimize prep trim and cut labor costs

  • New food donation, composting, upcycling models, etc. that offer a hassle-free pick-up system (could also offer feedback loops to restaurants with actionable insights on how much and what types of foods they’re diverting from landfill, and/or a compelling economic advantage for restaurants)

Proposals that are ineligible for this open call include:

  • Research proposals

  • Advocacy or policy-related proposals

  • Traditional food donation and compost pick-up services (unless the services incorporate an innovative aspect that remove the existing challenges that has limited restaurant uptake such as costliness and capacity to store food until pick-up)

  • Proposals that do not directly reduce pre or post-consumer food waste in restaurant settings

To learn more about this open call, please review the FAQ page.

Meet the Current Independent Review Committee

Chris Aquilino

Director of Culinary Development,​​​​​​​ Elior North America

Alex Bondar

Partner, Acre Venture Partners

Tracy Chang

​​​​​​​Executive Chef and Owner, Pagu Restaurant

Bryan Chunton

Owner, Zaab Zaab Restaurant

Jeffrey Clark

Expert Exchange Director, National Restaurant Association

Bridget Croke

Managing Director, Closed Loop Partners

Jess Eng

Freelance Food Writer, The Washington Post, The New York Times, TASTE

Jonathan Grimm

Co-Founder, Toast and CTO,

Shane Larisey

Co-Founder and General Partner, Redstick Ventures

Cabernet Nguyen

Former Executive Sous Chef, One White Street

Nina Sevilla

Program Advocate, Food Waste & Food Systems, Natural Resources Defense Council

Lisa Shibata

Director, Sustainability​​​​​​​, Chipotle Mexican Grill

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Nominate someone for the independent review committee

The Independent Review Committee is a highly valued group of leaders and experts coming from a variety of backgrounds; tailored for each open call, it serves as an integral part of the broader team managing the Catalytic Grant Fund by contributing to the overall grantee selection process. If you are interested in participating as an Independent Reviewer or know of someone that you’d like to nominate for the Committee, please contact Angel Veza at [email protected].

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Contribute to the ReFED Catalytic Grant Fund

We are deeply grateful to our funder partners who make the Catalytic Grant Fund possible, sharing our mission and vision for a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive food system.

Learn more about how you can be part of this initiative by contacting Alexandria Coari, ReFED’s VP of Capital, Innovation, and Engagement at [email protected].

Anchoring Investors
Partnering Investors

Previous Open Call

Consumer Food Waste

Consumers are the largest total generators of food waste, but it's not always easy for them to change wasteful behaviors. This first Open Call is focused on solutions and innovations in need of funding that can enable consumers to actively reduce their food waste at home – as well as in restaurant and foodservice settings – by making it obvious, affordable, and convenient. To bolster these solutions, the Catalytic Grant Fund seeks to support initiatives at a local, regional, and/or national level.

Meet the Cohort

Meet the Independent Review Committee

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