First-of-its-Kind Mobile App Partners to Help End Hunger

Time and again, businesses—big and small—showcase how they’re using technology for social good. As seen at the Chamber Foundation’s Digital Empowers Forum, innovative technologies are making a positive impact locally and globally – from enhancing early childhood education within U.S. classrooms to breaking down systemic barriers for gender equality around the world.

Another example of leveraging technology for good can be seen in a local mobile app TwentyTables. TwentyTables is a first-of-its-kind, socially-conscious, fixed-cost, meal marketplace. What does that mean? Every lunch purchased through their app and supplied by one of their restaurant partners is … $6. Always.

However, TwentyTables does not only provide customers convenient, delicious fixed-cost meals. We are equally committed to tackling local, national, and global food insecurity and hunger. That’s why for every 20 meals ordered, we donate five meals to one of our charity partners. Washington, D.C. consumers and businesses can choose to donate meals to Capital Area Food BankDC Central Kitchen, and Martha’s Table. As the company expands to new markets, donations generated through meals served in those cities will help food charities local to that community.

In addition to helping the hungry and food insecure in Washington D.C. and beyond, TwentyTables is committed to providing corporate America and its workforce a wholesome, delicious, AND affordable lunch.

Now, through TwentyTables, consumers and employers have access to a network of delicious and convenient restaurant-prepared meals, for a price comparable to meals prepared-at-home. But perhaps more importantly, it means that per SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management), the 52% of workers that bring lunch from home now have a viable, economical, and sustainable alternative to brown-bagging it. TwentyTables is a luxury of convenience for everyone who wants to stop packing lunch, but at a budget-friendly price. And for businesses, offering TwentyTables’ service as an employee benefit means that for just $120/month, employers can provide an employee a daily “free lunch” benefit.

It’s a win for everyone involved—affordable meals for consumers; increased business for restaurants; and helping feed the hungry. Everyone prospers together in our Community of Food.

TwentyTables’ app went live on iPhone and Android in Washington D.C. earlier this year. Currently over 75 restaurants and food trucks are registered, and TwentyTables is expanding rapidly throughout the city and plans to grow organically throughout the DC Metro area.

TwentyTables was recently nominated by the Capital Area Food Bank as one of Washington D.C.’s most innovative tech companies, and finished 2nd out of 64 companies in DC Inno’s Tech Madness competition.

If you are interested in learning more about partnership opportunities, please visit or contact Jim Ross at [email protected].

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Hudson Tang
How TwentyTables Helps You Give Back While Eating Well

TwentyTables believes that giving back should be just as easy and routine as buying a meal. So that’s exactly what they built.

Founded in March 2017, TwentyTables is a fixed cost, food marketplace platform that lets hungry users purchase lunches for $6 and dinners for $12. Patrons can choose from more than 50 local D.C. restaurants and food trucks through the app.  So far, the platform has partnered with restaurants like District BarbecueBrookland Pint and Nino’s Bakery.

“By being a fixed cost meal platform, the cost is predictable for everyone involved,” said TwentyTables Founders Alex Cohen. “Restaurants know exactly how much they’re getting paid and consumers know exactly how much they’re spending.”

Here’s the catch — they don’t deliver. Customers have to pick up their food or dine in after purchasing through the app. Cohen said that companies like Seamless and UberEats drive up the costs of food, which conflicts with TwentyTables’ model.

“Some people can afford a $17 sandwich when it really costs $10, but most folks can’t,” said Cohen.

For every 20 meals purchased through TwentyTables, five meals are donated to local D.C. food banks — Capital Area Food Bank, D.C. Central Kitchen and Martha Tables. TwentyTables’ ticket-based system also allows users to donate meals to other users. Each ticket costs $6 — one ticket accounts for a lunch purchase and two tickets equal a dinner purchase.

According to a report by Capital Area Food Bank, at least 14 percent of D.C. residents are food insecure. TwentyTables makes quarterly donations to the food banks and the company’s team members also volunteer with the organizations.

“We wanted these three organizations not only because they’re the most reputable in D.C., but because they each sit at levels of the giving hierarchy,” Cohen said.

Capital Area Food Bank handles a large volume of food and serves as a distributor to smaller food banks in D.C. like D.C. Central Kitchen. Martha’s Kitchen and D.C. Kitchen prepare food and serve it to the needy.

The TwentyTables app ranks users by the amount they’ve helped donate to the food banks.

“We show individual consumers how many meals they’ve helped us contribute,” said Cohen. “We also rank them on a no-name basis relative to their friends in the ecosystem and to the TwentyTables whole community.”

TwentyTables plans to expand to other D.C. neighborhoods, Richmond and Baltimore throughout 2018 and 2019, with donations going to local food banks in those respective regions.

“All of our vendor partners are so engaged that whatever challenge we face, our partners are willing to work with us to make sure that Twenty Tables succeeds,” said Cohen.

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Hudson Tang
Meal Deal Service Twenty Tables Strives to Stoke Charitable Giving Across D.C.

Never mind free lunches: Twenty Tables founder and CEO Alex Cohen is devoting all his efforts to building charitable giving into locals’ everyday dining routine.

Rather than looking for a handout, Cohen is harnessing this area’s insatiable appetite for exclusive meal deals (his approach: getting restaurants to create $6 lunches and $12 dinners) in order to generate a steady source of revenue for local groups that work to alleviate hunger. A former attorney who says he spent 13 years handling health care issues at an international law firm, Cohen tells Eater the vision for Twenty Tables — which is currently competing against other tech companies in a March Madness-style bracket challenge — was partially “inspired by what José Andrés is doing.”

Andrés was recently named humanitarian of the year by the James Beard Foundation for all the support he’s provided to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, and all the meals he and his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, have supplied around the globe.

Cohen’s app works like this: users sign up and are instantly presented with the network of participating restaurants and food trucks that accept Twenty Tables’ proprietary meal tickets ($6 apiece). Lunch offerings, which can range from scaled-down versions of an existing dish to custom items vendors offer specifically to Twenty Tables customers, are priced at 1 ticket, while dinner orders are capped at two tickets (so, $12). There is a 15-minute lead time required for each order — so the food should, theoretically, be waiting for each customer as soon as they reach the vendor — and only same-day purchases are accepted.

Once a user places 20 orders, the company makes a donation to a charity partner — Twenty Tables is currently working with Capital Area Food BankDC Central Kitchen, and Martha’s Table — equivalent to five free meals. Users can also elect to donate additional charity meals at will. The app also promotes competition by showing users how they rank against friends and the Twenty Tables community in general regarding orders placed/charitable meals donated.

“All you do is participate and you are helping,” Cohen says. He adds that Twenty Tables orders are a floor not a ceiling, citing that it’s not uncommon for customers to purchase additional items — a beer while waiting, or perhaps a dessert to take home — when they go to collect their food.

Local chain Naan & Beyond was the first restaurant to come on board in late 2017. Cohen says Twenty Tables has added dozens more since then, including food trucks El Fuego and Peruvian Brothers; casual eateries Bub and Pop’s and Soupergirl; and neighborhood restaurants Meridian Pint and Brookland Pint.

The initial focus is on developing the service area around the existing base in the Golden Triangle/Dupont Circle. Cohen says growth opportunities could extend the reach into Chinatown next. From there, he could see branching out to Georgetown or Cleveland Park. If the momentum keeps building, Cohen tells Eater he’s game to connect users with cheap eats from Baltimore to Richmond.

“There could be a whole corridor of $6 lunches,” he says.

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Hudson Tang
This new app finds meal deals and gives back

D.C.–based Twenty Tables is launching an app next month that connects customers with $6 lunches and $12 dinners at dozens of local food trucks, quick service and full service restaurants. After ordering 20 meals, Twenty Tables donates five meals to the Capital Area Food Bank, Martha’s Tableand DC Central Kitchen.

“Getting excited about $6 lunch is real, but what’s really exciting is the prospect of a continuous stream of charitable giving,” Twenty Tables founder and CEO Alexander Cohen told DC. “It creates a sense of community.”

For $6 you’ll be able to get a medium bowl of soup and a bread roll at Soupergirl, and add a salad for a $12 dinner. Other restaurants include food truck Project Milanesa and Bub and Pop’s. Participating restaurants pick three dishes to include for each meal deal.

“We are giving a significant discount,” Soupergirl founder Sarah Polon told DC. “What would normally cost $8 now costs $6. We love the fact that with every purchase we help a local charity.”

Maria Booker is the head of events for the Capital Area Food Bank, which provides over a half million area residents with their food needs annually.

“We’re testing out a few donation platforms, and this one stood out because it connects to local restaurants and gives back means,” Booker said. “In the end, the user is able to embed giving into their daily life.”

Cohen, a former healthcare attorney who decided to change careers last year, now works with a team of 15 full and part-time employees. He said he and his team want to expand to other cities once the D.C. model is perfected.

“We want to build corridors so consumers can go to Richmond or Baltimore and still find a $6 lunch in Philly,” he said.

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Hudson Tang