A Los Angeles-based restaurant business is using delivery to better peoples’ lives during the pandemic. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Everytable has been delivering meals to those in need in Southern California. Company founder Sam Polk, a former Wall Street trader, told Bloomberg this week that since the coronavirus hit, Everytable’s volume has grown eight times.
Everytable, which was founded in 2015 after Polk left Wall Street, is a combination of social enterprise and restaurant business. The company’s grab-and-go concept sells healthy meals that vary in price according to the neighborhoods in which the restaurants are located. In other words, meals are made affordable to anyone, regardless of whether they live in an affluent part of town or a food desert. The company also has a subscription service and a smart locker business. All food is cooked in a central commissary kitchen before getting distributed via the company’s various sales channels.
Fighting the food desert problem is one of the main missions of Everytable. “Everytable was founded in the fight for social and racial justice,” Polk told Bloomberg. “After all ‘food deserts’ don’t just happen—they are a product of systemic and structural racism, community disinvestment, an economy that works for only a select few.”
Assisting those struggling during the pandemic is part of that mission. Since the pandemic started, Everytable has been delivering meals to the homeless, elderly people that can’t leave the house, and community college students who would ordinarily rely on their school’s pantries. FEMA, with additional help from the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles is paying for the majority of the meals going to the needy.
In the U.S., one out of every eight people face food insecurity, including 13 million children, according to data from Feeding America. In some places, the pandemic has only worsened the situation for people living in food deserts.
The pandemic has prompted a number of food-related businesses to find ways of getting meals to food insecure areas and individuals. One notable example is fine-dining restaurant Alma Cocina Latina, a Baltimore establishment that has transformed itself into something of a relief kitchen for the needy during the pandemic. It has assistance from José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen. Amazon, meanwhile, expanded the number of states where SNAP participants can use the tech giant’s site to buy groceries online. And a company called Foodie Card raised $1.5 million during the pandemic to further develop its business that in part supplies food banks.
Fighting this food insecurity means finding ways to give everyone adequate access to nutritious foods. That these companies are able to utilize delivery, commissary kitchens, and other aspects of food tech to get healthier food to more people will hopefully inspire others to do the same, now and long after the pandemic subsides.