Empowered by Food

FoodtoEat.com

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 10. Reduced Inequalities

Overview

FoodtoEat's mission is to "to unite people around the communal table and add diversity to the food community by championing small businesses from every neighborhood."

Deepti Sharma, FoodtoEat's Founder and CEO, wants to get corporations to buy local food and think about diversity beyond just hiring women and people of color but to think about how they can use their purchasing power to empower a community.

Author

Mihaela Mihai

Mihaela Mihai

School

St. John's University

St. John's University

Professor

Charles Wankel

Charles Wankel

Innovation

FoodtoEat is a woman-owned corporate catering concierge service that focuses on working with immigrant, women and minority-run food businesses throughout New York City.

Ms. Sharma uses FoodtoEat to educate corporations of their impact on communities but also to help them build their corporate culture. "When they [corporations] purchase food from a small business they allow them to stay alive and they also help the community thrive. Corporations should invest in their team to help build morale.”

Because of their work in empowering minorities and women and helping them grow their business, FoodtoEat’s efforts are aligned with two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: Decent Work and Economic Growth and Reduced Inequalities.

Empowered by Food

Inspiration

Ms. Sharma credits her inspiration to a 20-minute wait for a peanut butter cookie at a food truck. “I was waiting on line at a food truck and I was waiting for about 20 minutes, and all I got was a peanut butter cookie. How is it that this is the only way for me to access what this food truck is selling?”

It was then that she started thinking about food truck vendors who had a limited access to customers: they can only reach those who walked up to the truck, waited in line and paid in cash.

Ms. Sharma recalls talking to a lot of food truck vendors, many of whom “didn’t even see themselves as small businesses owner. They just saw themselves as ‘this is my job, this is what I do to make money to pay the bills, get my kids through college’ and so that struck me and I realized that nobody gave them to opportunity to think about it that way.” Ms. Sharma started to talk to these food truck vendors and explored ways in which she can help them grow and scale their business. When Ms. Sharma started FoodtoEat she wanted to help represent these amazing food vendors that were in a way representative of her as a “first generation immigrant and a woman of color.”

Overall impact

FoodtoEat started as an online ordering platform for food trucks and carts. Soon Ms. Sharma realized that she needed to pivot her business to catering. This was necessary on one hand because the online ordering business was becoming crowded, but mainly, because catering gave more opportunities for these small minority owned small businesses to grow in scale.

FoodtoEat connects the small neighborhood food vendors with corporate clients through an-easy-to-use online platform. They also provide logistical support and they handle the sales and marketing for these local food vendors and restaurants that are too small to have their own teams. FoodtoEat also helps some of the local food vendors price their products accurately.

According to Ms. Sharma, FoodtoEat’s biggest impact was spreading the message of sustainability for food truck vendors and small restaurants.

Since it was founded in 2011, FoodtoEat connected over 900 food trucks and small restaurants to corporate clients.

Business benefit

FoodtoEat became the successful business it is today, because Ms. Sharma recognized the value of adding diversity to the food community by championing immigrant, women, minority run food businesses and connecting them to corporate clients. They also understood that consumers want to know their choices make an impact, however small. When a corporate client chooses to cater an event using FoodtoEat they help a small food vendor grow their business and indirectly create a stronger local community.

FoodtoEat is not only in the business of selling food. They also want to educate their customers. “Food is about much more than just sustenance. Shared team meals foster better work cultures, making your office happier and more productive.” FoodtoEat markets their food services as a perk. They help corporations understand the value of sitting around a communal table.

Social and environmental benefit

Because of their work in empowering minorities and women and helping them grow their business, FoodtoEat’s efforts are aligned with two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: Decent Work and Economic Growth and Reduced Inequalities.

Interview

Deepti Sharma, Founder & CEO

Photo of interviewee

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FoodtoEat.com

FoodtoEat.com

New York, NY, US

Business Website: https://www.foodtoeat.com/

Year Founded: 2011

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

FoodtoEat is a corporate catering concierge service connecting businesses to local vendors.

The local vendors are often immigrants, minorities and women, who do not have the infrastructure or capital to offer catering to the average business.

FoodtoEat offers these small food vendors an easy-to-use platform to expand their reach beyond their standard delivery zone.