Co-founded in 2016 by CEO Sam Polk, Everytable is a mission-driven food company committed to promoting food justice and equality by providing healthy and nutritious food that is accessible and affordable for everyone.
Everytable is a multi-channel freshly prepared grocery store that combines storefronts, subscriptions, and take-away SmartFridges and is delivered from a central kitchen with meals priced at the neighborhood income level. To date, Everytable has sold more than 4 million meals and has 10 locations across the Los Angeles area. The purpose of Everytable's innovative new Social Equity Franchise program is to promote the economic empowerment of entrepreneurs from marginalized communities and to provide training, marketing support and most importantly, critical access to capital.
With a total of $ 4.5 million in program-related investments from W.K. The Kellogg Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness), and Dignity Health plan to open 40 Everytable franchise locations in Southern California over the next two years.
The new program will be led by Bryce Fluellen, a food justice veteran who has led the food and social justice programs at Magic Johnson Enterprises at Starbucks, TGI Fridays and Loews Cinemas, and most recently at the American Heart Association. He is also a master chef.
BLACK COMPANY spoke to Fluellen about the newly launched Everytable franchise program and to Dorcia Whitebrake, the first franchise candidate in training.
Bryce Fluellen, general manager of the social equity franchise program at Everytable
BLACK COMPANY:: Bryce, how does the Everytable Franchise Program work?
Bryce Fluellen: Everytable is a food company that sells nutritious, freshly cooked meals, as well as subscription meal plans, available at affordable prices to guests who live in the community. With the program funds we have received from various foundations, we can offer franchisees loans with a term of five years to cover the costs of the location at a very low interest rate of 2%. This removes one of the biggest hurdles for franchise candidates as we don't need upfront capital or the traditional requirements of securing a bank loan.
Upon admission to the program, a candidate must attend Everytable University. This is a six to twelve month, multidisciplinary educational series that provides in-depth, hands-on, paid training to empower and prepare disenfranchised entrepreneurs to start an Everytable. This includes leadership training, public speaking, civic engagement, accounting, finance, marketing, management, operations, retirement planning, etc. Upon successful completion of the training program, the candidate will officially become a franchisee and a completed, turnkey location will be ready for them to open. Our internal real estate team secures the location and takes care of the expansion. We then offer the franchisee guidance and support in hiring and training their employees. The average cost for an Everytable location is $ 250,000. However, repayment of the loan does not begin until the business makes a profit. Because most paint business owners often don't have a pillow to fall back on, Everytable franchisees are guaranteed an annual salary of $ 40,000 for their first three fiscal years.
This is an incredible opportunity for people who could never afford a traditional franchise, and it significantly increases the success rate by eliminating the need to worry about building a new business while paying the daily cost of living.
That's right. This franchise program aims to promote the economic empowerment of entrepreneurs from marginalized communities. Our social justice initiative has the potential to change lives and create justice while promoting the health of those on the margins of society. This is also a great opportunity to create economic mobility, empowerment and ownership for those who have been separated from for so long. We believe this program can serve as a template that can be replicated across the country and in the franchise industry.
Our goal is to open 40 Everytable Social Equity franchise stores in Los Angeles in the next two years and then expand to the East Coast in late 2021, early 2022. We want to provide economic empowerment for owners so they can take advantage of their revenues and profits by opening additional locations, becoming a homeowner, creating retirement plans and building intergenerational wealth.
What is the Everytable Franchise Opportunity Application Process and What Are You Looking For in an Owner?
Well, we are still working on the application process. We are therefore concentrating on internal candidates for the time being. Current employees at Everytable, e.g. B. Retail managers or employees who work in our central production kitchens where we prepare and assemble all meals. We have an incredibly dedicated pool of employees to choose from, and we anticipate many of them will want to take part in this opportunity. As the program grows, we plan to work with community colleges and business development organizations to identify more candidates.
In terms of what we look for in a candidate, we look for mission-minded people who are interested in the community. Of course we want them to want to make money, but we also want the community to be doing well. All table operations are relatively simple as we don't have to deal with the complexities of an on-site commercial kitchen. So we can focus on people who have a passion for entrepreneurship, or someone who has been in the fast food industry for many years but doesn't want to run a full-service restaurant. We require the company to be owner-managed, so this option is not suitable for people who want something semi-absent or passive. Having the owner run the business also brings down labor costs. Managers typically work on the floor 30-40 hours a week. After all, we are looking for employees who demonstrate leadership skills and want to grow with the company and who in return submit suggestions and improvements that can be implemented. Some of the best suggestions for new menu items come from staff.
Dorcia Whitebrake, Everytable Franchisee in Training, Hollywood, CA.
Everytable's first franchisee – Dorcia Whitebrake
Dorcia Whitbrake, 51, is a black single mother of three living in southern Los Angeles. For decades she made ends meet to have multiple jobs. Today she is proud to own Everytable in Hollywood, California at 6775 Hollywood Blvd.
Dorcia is the definition of hard work and resilience. She served for many years as a teacher's assistant in the Los Angeles Unified School District, starting and running a successful event support and cleanup business at the same time. She is also working on a double degree in sociology and humanities.
BLACK COMPANY: Congratulations on becoming the first candidate in the Everytable Franchise Program. Do you have a business background?
Whitebrake: Not at all! I started my event sponsorship and cleaned up to make extra money – it was more about survival. But I could never build it where I wanted it to be. I think I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but definitely not the background. I've worked 2-3 jobs for most of my life.
How did you first get into Everytable and how does it feel to be selected as the first Franchise Candidate?
I started out as a store clerk and they offered me a managerial position. I didn't feel like I was ready for it so I turned it down. Fortunately, they came up to me again and this time I accepted. Then a few months ago, Sam Polk came up to me with the opportunity for the Franchise Ownership Program and I couldn't believe it! It just didn't feel real.
It's both an honor and a bit of pressure to be first. But since I've been with Everytable, you have been taught to take responsibility regardless of your position. I've always felt very supported. It feels great to represent black women and entrepreneurs of color. I know that I am capable and that everytable believes in me.
Everytable franchise, multi-channel freshly prepared grocery store
What are some of the expectations you have as the owner and what would you say to others who may be interested in the opportunity?
My expectation is that I will be supported and successful. I have three children. Two of them worked at Everytable and my daughter is really excited about the opportunity to become the owner – she wants to know everything! They want to know when they can start helping with the business. My eldest son was just hired at Everytable. I hope that this will become a family business and that we will acquire more locations. My focus is on building wealth and making my dream come true of buying a home and eventually setting up a trust fund for my family.
If you become part of Everytable, you have to really want to serve people. You need to have a spirit of love and take care of the community. We are all driven by the mission to provide healthy, affordable, and nutritious meals to people who normally cannot afford these types of foods. It's more than just a job, you have to put your heart and soul into it.