In 2015, long before the pandemic forced the restaurant world to do without food service, Everytable launched as a new kind of restaurant concept with a social justice mission.
It started out as a physical store with a menu of healthy and fresh take out. Served by a central commissary kitchen, the stores offered dishes like Thai basil noodles with vegetables or a salmon superfood salad, for example, which could be priced at $ 5 in a low-income neighborhood but at low cost. $ 7 in a high income neighborhood.
Today, however, Everytable has grown into what founder Sam Polk calls “an omnichannel fresh prepared food company.”
In addition to the 11 stores, Everytable offers delivery – with in-house drivers – as well as a subscription program with a similar sliding scale. Diners, for example, can order six meals to be delivered each week. This service was extended to San Diego this year, where Polk hopes to start opening take-out stores soon.
Plus, the greater Los Angeles area is dotted with Everytable smart fridges – stored at the Commissary – that dispense healthy meals like vending machines. Users pay through an app.
The company is also developing an institutional catering business that, during the pandemic, delivered meals to low-income seniors, for example, and feeds the homeless temporarily housed in hotels.
So when the pandemic arrived, Everytable was already well positioned to operate without a food service.
âDuring the coronavirus our take out stores were hit hard, but our e-commerce business really took off, and so did our restaurant business,â Polk said. âI sometimes think of it like flowing water where it’s needed. Sometimes people are at home and we can send trucks there. Sometimes people stop by our stores and we can fill our stores. And sometimes they’re in the office – or, hopefully, they will be at some point in the future. “
And when the world mourned the death of George Floyd last year and screamed for social justice, Everytable was ready for it, too.
In early 2020, Everytable launched a franchise program designed to bring in entrepreneurs of color to operate in underserved communities. The company offers access to capital and a strong training and support program called Everytable University that includes all aspects of running a business. Franchisees also earn a salary – $ 40,000 for the first three years of âwhite knuckling,â Polk said.
Franchising in the United States is designed for “people who have been able to accumulate wealth or access capital, and who end up being people who have benefited a lot from historical circumstances,” Polk said. It is not uncommon in a traditional restaurant franchise to require potential franchisees to have a net worth of $ 2 million and $ 600,000 in liquid assets, for example, which puts them out of reach for most people.
Everytable has raised $ 5 million – which Polk hopes to turn into $ 25 million through a leveraged loan – that will allow the chain to help build stores for “dozens, if not hundreds of entrepreneurs who would otherwise not have access to this capital. “
Ten franchisees are currently in the program, and Everytable plans to open an additional 20 to 25 stores, mostly franchisees, over the next five months.
Polk is now planning to open its doors in New York. He hopes to close a commissary kitchen there soon, which will open this year or early 2022.
âEverytable’s goal is to try to solve this problem, which is why a burger and fries at McDonald’s costs $ 6 and a salad from Sweetgreen or Dig costs $ 15,â said Polk. âAnd for us the answer to that is if you centralize the production of these meals and drive this tremendous efficiency, then you can cut costs. But in order to do this, you not only need to take care of food production, but also logistics and sales. We were therefore fortunate to have developed this large food production, but also the logistics network.
Contact Lisa Jennings at [emailÂ protected]
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