"I think it’s similar to Toms," says a founder.
Chains like Sweetgreen have received acclaim for turning fast food healthy, but the fact remains that nutritious, convenient meal options tend to be expensive. A new chain wants to change that—at least in low-income neighborhoods. Everytable, which is opening two locations in L.A. this summer, will vary its menu pricing at each location according to local income levels.
According to the New York Times, the price of Everytable's most expensive meal—a Jamaican jerk chicken bowl with coconut rice and plantains—will be $4.50 at the South L.A. location. Across town, in wealthier downtown L.A., the same meal will cost about $9. This model, the restaurant's founders say, allows the chain to serve up its healthier dishes for much less than some of their counterparts.
"We don't love the word subsidize because each store is designed to be individually profitable," says Sam Polk, co-founder of the chain. The South L.A. location's grab-and-go format doesn't require many employees, which keeps costs low. Still, Polk hopes that patrons of the higher-priced will take pride in helping to make sure that healthy meals are available to those with lower food budgets. "I think it’s similar to Toms," Polk says, "where you buy a pair of shoes knowing that someone else in some needy part of the world is going to get a similar pair of shoes for nothing.”
"Our first two locations are only about two miles apart, but the needs of each community are so different," co-founder David Foster tells Tech Insider. "Why not build a model where everyone can access the same meals at a price that makes sense for them?" Foster and Polk hope they'll be able to expand their operation to more neighborhoods in the future, allowing both their business and their mission to grow.