Karma, the food waste platform for restaurants, will use its $12m Series A investment round to accelerate its expansion in the UK to new cities, as well as expand to new European markets.

Alex Spain, VP international expansion, told MCA after going to major European capitals, Karma would expand to two-three more UK cities, most likely large hubs such as Manchester and Birmingham.

The funding will also help establish a permanent presence and team in the UK, with operations so far run remotely from Sweden.

Bringing its total raised to $18m, the marketplace that enables restaurants to sell unsold food discounted to consumers is now working with 400 restaurants in the UK including Polpo, Caravan, K10, Taylor St Barista’s, Ned’s Noodle Bar and Detox Kitchen.

Spain said the platform offered a “safety net” against food waste, and in Sweden it had provided incremental revenue to restaurants, though Karma was still having make this case to its London partners.

Rather than being a disruptive influence on the eating out industry, he said the platform complimented restaurant businesses, and gave operators flexibility to devise the type, volume and timing of the discounts on offer.

Spain said so far in the UK high-end restaurants, which are popular with foodie bargain hunters, as well as more every day grab and go concepts, particular sushi, had done well on the platform.

He told MCA: “We’ve been very pleased with the start in London, though it’s early days. In central London there’s a good range, but we want to get to the point that it is in Sweden – that within five minutes there’s a large range of options - that’s what we’re building towards.

“We start with restaurants and independents, then move up the chain to middle-sized chains, then up to the largest grab and go groups.”

“We want to work with high end restaurants and act like a safety net for them. We want quality but also the range, with multiple different options. It could be high end, or you might use it for daily lunch.”

On the dynamics between Karma and operators, Spain continued: “Restaurants in London are sophisticated in terms of pricing, they know how it works. We put it in their hands on the timing. In Sweden we can prove that it provides incremental revenue. We are still having to prove it to our London partners.

“It’s genuinely incremental and sometimes quite significant. The top sellers make up to 50,000 euros a year. Even if it’s only a few items a day, it could pay for member of staff.

“We are an asset light and scalable platform, so we can offer just one item, or five. We can connect to users easily.”

On Karma’s potential impact on the industry, Spain said: “We are not trying to disrupt restaurants. We want to help and work with them. You could say we are changing the way people think about waste, which has negative connotations from a user perspective.

“It’s not leftovers, or past its sell by date – it’s food which hasn’t been consumed.

“I don’t think anyone has managed to crack that. It’s how we’re changing perceptions in the industry. We are complimentary partners. We’re bringing customers to them.

“A lot of food tech has focused on delivery, which puts a barrier between users and restaurants, but we’re sending users into rests, and we know people become returning customers.”