In an effort to "put healthy food on every table in the city," a new Los Angeles restaurant is generating its prices based on the per capita income of each restaurant’s location, meaning a meal in Downtown Los Angeles will likely cost double the price of one in South Los Angeles, said co-founder and CEO of Everytable Sam Polk.
Everytable opened its first location in South LA Saturday. The grab-and-go restaurant aims to bring affordable, healthy food to low income neighborhoods like South LA. It was co-founded by Polk, a former hedge fund trader, and David Foster, a private equity professional.
"We realized through our work with Groceryships, a non-profit that works at the intersection of poverty and obesity, that many families in lower-income areas (especially those living in food deserts) simply don't have access to healthy options on-the-go," Polk said.
Polk and Foster created their business model to ensure lower income families could afford quality food, and that their food would not be overpriced in other areas. According to Everytable’s website, it takes $3.85 to produce each meal, which are then sold at an average price of $4 in South LA, and $8 in Downtown LA.
"Those people in Downtown LA will know that their purchase is helping this company bring food into areas of town where it's currently unavailable," Polk said
Other fast-food restaurant chains like McDonald’s and Burger King also adjust price rates, but at a much smaller scale, said David Tristano, President of Technomic, a food-focused research and consulting firm. The restaurants adjust prices based on customers, income levels in the area, and are set by the franchise owner within a range given by the company.
However, the range of price variance in those restaurants is around 15 to 20 percent, whereas Everytable shifts prices by about 50 percent, Tristano said. He added that their business model "broadens their opportunities to operate" by allowing them to target both high and low income areas.
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"Profit in the affluent areas helps them support the efforts they make in the lower income markets," Tristano said. Their strategy is more focused on efforts in the community than on driving profit, he added.
"Everytable is a business that’s about solving a major problem in our city," Polk said. "In places like South LA healthy food is is not available, in other more affluent places, healthy food is too expensive. This is a model that allows all of us to access healthy delicious food at an affordable price.”
Everytable’s South LA location is open on the 1100 Block of West 23rd Street.
"We've been working to build Everytable for more than two years, so it was absolutely amazing to see it come to life on Saturday," Foster said after the opening.
"We're humbled by all of the community support we've recieved and thrilled with our customers' reactions so far," Foster added. "We've been working in this neighborhood for three years, so it was great to see some familiar faces, and a lot of new ones."
The company has plans to open a second location on South Flower Street at The Bloc in Downtown LA later this year, Foster added. "There are definitely plans for expansion within Los Angeles and beyond," he said.