Not every brand is for everyone. Even though menu items catering to those with dietary restrictions like gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan have become more common, it still isn’t easy to find a menu that meets everyone’s dietary needs.
Often the restaurants that do offer these options can be pricy, especially for families. Not to mention, healthy grab-and-go concepts are hard to come by. Juices are often $9 a pop and salads can be $12+ at most fast casual restaurants.
Enter Everytable, the Cali-based brand with four stores near the LA area providing healthy, yet affordable prepackaged meals to the local market. Each Everytable store is priced according to their specific neighborhoods and the local demographic.
We sat down with Everytable’s co-founders Sam Polk and David Foster to learn why they started this unique concept, how it is standing out, and how they can offer a price-point that significantly below other restaurant brands.
Can you tell us a little about Groceryships and the inspiration behind Everytable?
Polk: The idea for Everytable first came from the moms of Groceryships, a local LA nonprofit I started that works at the intersection of poverty and food-related illnesses like diabetes and obesity.
Many of the moms in the program had several kids and multiple jobs, and often had to buy meals on the go. In South LA, the only options were unhealthy fast food restaurants – David, my co-founder, and I wanted to create a healthy and affordable alternative. We began working on an innovative business model that uses a commissary kitchen and small grab-and-go storefronts to keep costs low, pricing meals according to the neighborhoods each store is located in.
What do your customers like about Everytable?
Foster: Our customers love having an option that is affordable, healthy, and fast that doesn’t feel like a compromise. More importantly though, our customers are inspired by the mission of the company and know they are playing a part in building a more equitable food system in LA by opening up access to healthy, fresh food in the neighborhoods that need it the most.
How does the brand differentiate itself?
Foster: We are the first for-profit business in the industry to implement variable pricing as part of our social mission. Our unique model means the same fresh, fast, wholesome meal that costs $4 - $5 in lower income neighborhoods like South LA, cost an average of $6-7 in more affluent neighborhoods like Downtown LA and Santa Monica. We are making healthy dishes affordable for local patrons and creating a community that, together, is democratizing healthy food.
Why have you selected the current locations?
Polk: Our mission is to bring healthy food to all communities in LA, so we open stores in economically diverse communities to serve those living in food deserts whose current options are only cheap, over-processed fast food chains, as well as those in more affluent communities who are sick of overpaying for healthy meals on-the-go. And because our prices differ from location to location, we’re ensuring everyone has access to wholesome, chef-designed meals at a price they can afford. We realized that while a significant group of people have the desire to consume fresh and wholesome meals, they either can’t afford it or don’t live in an area where it’s available and convenient (or both.)
How do you determine pricing and how are you able to offer an affordable price-point?
Foster: Everytable’s business model drastically reduces the costs of the standard restaurant model. Chefs at our local kitchen turn fresh, wholesome ingredients into delicious meals, which we sell through our small, grab-and-go storefronts.
From start to finish, everything is designed to be super-efficient, and the savings are reflected in our prices. Our pricing is based on what is affordable for each neighborhood we serve.
Why the take-out model?
Polk: The grab-and-go model enables us to keep our prices low with small store fronts and limited staff, plus it makes it faster and more convenient for customers. Our pre-packaged meals also make it a great option for meal planning. All of our food is made fresh daily and can last in your refrigerator for three to four days– making it easy for customers to eat well everyday, without having to worry about the rest.
What are your future plans for the chain?
Polk: We plan to continue to grow and expand around LA to make it possible for more people, in more neighborhoods to enjoy healthy meals at a great price. We truly believe that healthy food is a human right and are working with our customers and their communities to create a food system that works for all.