Food Foundry Accelerator by Relish Works Announces Third Cohort Serving Innovative Food Industry Startups


Food Foundry, a Relish Works accelerator program launched in partnership with Gordon Food Service and 1871 that is rethinking the way food moves, has announced the five innovative food startups that will join their third cohort.

There have been numerous large-scale shifts in the foodservice industry throughout the last year, as companies have had to navigate supply-chain disruptions, operational adjustments to place health and safety as a priority, and other changes. In response to the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the startups selected for the third cohort of Food Foundry are creating new solutions for a changing industry. The participating members are leading the way in supporting and accelerating two growing trends in how food moves and arrives at the table: digital adoption and ethical consumerism.

“As we find ourselves in the midst of a changed industry, we continue to place our customers at the center of everything we do,” said Rich Wolowski, President & CEO of Gordon Food Service. “We are inspired by the Food Foundry companies’ commitment to creating solutions that will help our industry recover and thrive once again.”

The Food Foundry is proud to welcome the following startups as cohort three members:

  • EZ Chow provides multi-channel digital ordering for restaurants and hospitality organizations.
  • Feedback App is a low-cost food ordering platform that reduces food waste by facilitating the diversion of any excess.
  • Forever Ware makes trash-free takeout and delivery a reality by stocking restaurants and grocery stores with smart, reusable takeout containers and cups that customers can borrow and return. 
  • Sampoll provides innovative SaaS solutions for product trials and voice of customer insights.
  • Tavolo is an app that introduces contactless dining by allowing users to reserve a table, order menu items, and pay for meals at restaurants they love while utilizing AI to analyze restaurant metrics to improve the customer experience.

Throughout the selection process, Food Foundry sought startups that are shaping a more resilient future by taking fresh approaches to today’s most pressing challenges. Each finalist demonstrated a product or service that offers an innovative solution with the potential to reimagine the food industry and create a stronger, more sustainable food ecosystem. 

“At Relish Works, we recognize that collaboration and innovation are the way forward,” said Laura Habegger, Head of Food Foundry.  “As we look to foster more partnerships and connections among the VC community, startups, industry experts, and restaurant operators, we are thrilled to bring five promising companies into our community as part of our third Food Foundry cohort.”

Food Foundry is a 16-week immersive accelerator that provides cohort members industry -essential resources, hands-on mentorship, venture capital funding, and technical guidance, culminating in a demo day on September 16, 2021. The program also provides membership to 1871 and access to its roadmap—otherwise known as PYROS—which helps entrepreneurs navigate startup fundamentals and propel them forward through every business milestone, from the idea stage through product-market fit.

Additionally, the following Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at 1871 will support cohort members as mentors throughout the course: Chris Freeman, John Powers, Noramay Cadena, Rebecca Sholiton Kahnweiler, and Shayna Harris.

“Gordon Food Service is a long-time and dedicated partner in our mission to provide growing startups with the tailored resources, community support, and industry-specific education and connections they need to survive and thrive,” said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “We’re proud to continue to grow our collective impact as we welcome the newest cohort of Food Foundry, whose members are leading the way in disrupting the foodservice industry and creating new solutions for a post-pandemic world.”

To learn more about Food Foundry’s third cohort or its member companies, please contact Laura Habegger at or J Blaszczykiewicz at

About Food Foundry

Food Foundry is a Chicago-based accelerator program by Relish Works designed to support, connect, and propel innovative startups who are rethinking the food industry. Built in partnership with 1871 and Gordon Food Service — our program offers access to national foodservice business resources, distribution and supply chain resources, advanced curriculum, access to restaurant operators, mentors, and more.

About Relish Works

Relish Works is an innovation hub leading disruption in the food industry. Its purpose is to generate innovative solutions to the most pressing customer problems and unmet needs by creating partnerships, designing new solutions, and making strategic investments. Relish Works has deep professional expertise in human-centered design, customer experience, strategy, and early-stage investing. The office is located in the Merchandise Mart building in downtown Chicago. 

About Gordon Food Service

Since 1897, we have delivered uncompromising quality and heartfelt service to our customers. We began as a simple butter-and-egg delivery service, and have grown to become the largest family business in the foodservice industry by upholding the same approach for more than 120 years—remaining passionately committed to the people we serve. Today, we serve foodservice operators in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest regions of the United States and coast-to-coast in Canada. We also operate more than 175 Gordon Food Service StoreⓇ locations in the U.S. By partnering with organizations from across industries—healthcare to education, independent and chain restaurants, and event planners—we help our customers create food experiences that people choose, enjoy, and remember.

About 1871

1871 is Chicago’s technology hub and the #1 ranked private business incubator in the world. It exists to inspire, equip, and support early stage, growth scalers and innovators in building extraordinary businesses. 1871 is home to ~450 technology startups, ~300 growth stage companies, and ~1,500 members, and is supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The member experience includes virtual and in person access to workshops, events, mentorship, and more. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its members, alongside access to more than 100 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 650 alumni companies are currently still active, have created over 11,000 jobs, and have raised more than $1.65 billion in follow-on capital.

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