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Ezells famous chicken is a restaurant business that thrives on community. As explained by Lewis Rudd, the co-founder, community was their main focus and is what they stand for. The community is what makes this food business thrive and that is why this business makes sure to give back to the community. One of Lewis’s main rules in the restaurant is not throwing away extra food at the end of the night. There are many different organizations that they will donate the food to and save for the next day to do so as well. Businesses such as Northwest harvest, union gospel mission and so many others. One of the main SDGS that Ezells follows is the “No Hunger” SDG#2, but there are more that play into this business as well. Lewis spoke to us and told us that another thing they do in terms of giving back to the community is going to prisons and cooking box lunches (up to about 200 chicken buckets) and giving motivational speeches about how they can turn their life around. And then at the end they offer the prisoners the opportunity to get a job at Ezells once they are out of jail. Which plays into the other SDG “peace and justice strong institution” but also, I believe “Decent work and economic growth” as well.
Ezell’s focuses mainly on the “No Hunger” and “Peace and Justice” SDGs. They are nourishing customers’ appetites with freshly made chicken dishes that are easy to order and accessible to many people. By working with the well-known delivery service DoorDash, Ezell’s can market to a wider range of customers and spread their products within a larger radius of their restaurants. In addition, Rudd mentioned that the company is planning to begin using ordering kiosks in their restaurants. Ordering from a kiosk is not only faster and allows for more focus on preparing food, but it’s a great option for customers that are introverted or do not like speaking to cashiers.
Instead of throwing out any leftover product that does not get sold, Ezell’s makes sure that it gets consumed by giving it to organizations. One example was the Central Area Youth Association, which was located near the first Ezell’s restaurant. Someone from the organization would come by the shop and pick up the leftover chicken, and if they were unable to make it that night, the chicken would be stored in the fridge until it was retrieved the next day. Ezell’s also donated leftovers to homeless shelters and other organizations that are dedicated to feeding less fortunate people. The most important takeaway from these examples is that no food is thrown out at Ezell’s.
Ezell’s promotes justice by funding black-owned businesses as well as helping inmates. Rudd described one business owner that was on the verge of losing his business, but Ezell’s wrote him a check that helped him for the next several months. After that, the company started up an initiative called RUBB, which stands for Raising Up Black Businesses. This initiative’s objective is to financially empower Black-owned businesses in the Pacific Northwest, and Ezell’s has signed grants to over 20 Black-owned businesses while continuing to support its community. Ezell’s has also extended their outreach to a state prison by bringing in chicken buckets and giving the inmates motivation to rejoin society. Also, Ezell’s gave the inmates the opportunity to work as employees once they finished their service, which would provide them with income after coming back to society.
Quality. Community. Family. Tradition. Pride. Giving back. Resilience. Dedication. Loyalty. Honesty. Fun. And, of course: the best, freshest, most delicious fried chicken you’ve ever tasted—with mouth-watering sides and desserts made fresh and from scratch every day of the week. That’s the Ezell’s Famous Chicken difference, and what sets us apart from all others.
One thing Lewis said about innovation is that “it is important to make sure we're not left behind or left out on innovation” which is very true. One of the innovative things he’s doing with his business is technology! Surprising? Not really, because this is something that changes all the time in businesses but is becoming way more dominant in the businesses. Ezells main thing is kiosk and partnering with a 3rd party delivery service. Which was inspired by Lewis “going to different conferences” where he went to one and was taught about the now popular, door dash.
The no food waste policy is preventing Ezell’s from producing any food waste. This is especially impactful because most of Ezell’s dishes are meat-based, and meat dishes cannot be composted the same way as plant-based dishes. Instead, the leftovers are being donated to other people who will consume them, and a lot of these individuals are suffering from food insecurities among other problems. Food waste plays a major role in the overflowing of landfills, which in turn are responsible for most of the carbon emissions that are contributing to climate change. By making the most out of their leftover food products, Ezell’s is not only feeding hungry individuals, but they’re also maintaining a sustainable practice and keeping uneaten food out of garbage bins.
Another long-term effect of Ezell’s innovations is the uplifting and influencing of other Black-owned businesses. The RUBB initiative is committed to continually supporting Black-owned businesses by signing grants and educating their business leaders on what it means to run a business. Ezell’s hopes that their continuous efforts will both give Black business leaders the opportunities to succeed as well as increase the number of people who know about these companies.
By offering job opportunities and delivering motivational speeches to inmates, Ezell’s is showing compassion to hardened criminals. Most companies won’t be as willing to hire individuals with a criminal out of fear for their reputations. This dismissiveness has made it very difficult for former inmates to re-acclimate into society and bring in an income, something that is a common cause of crime in the first place. Ezell’s extending their hospitality to inmates will give them the money they need to survive and prevent them from committing finance-related crimes. Having a stable and non-toxic job will also improve the mental health of the former inmates, another issue related to criminal behavior. If more businesses take up this practice, then there will be less of a stigma towards former criminals, and the fostering of healthy workplaces can help to prevent crime in the first place.
Because Ezell’s offers former inmates job opportunities, they are creating a work environment where everyone is accepted and given equal chances to benefit from their job. The well-being of former prison inmates is likely to improve if they are treated well in their job and paid fair wages. Reaching out to former inmates also increases the pool of potential employees for the company, as more convicts will be willing to work for a business if they are shown mercy and kindness.
Ezell’s creation of the RUBB initiative draws more attention to other Black-owned businesses, which in turn provides investors with even more companies to invest in. In addition to investments, companies that Ezell’s provides grants to and educates will raise more revenue if they understand the way business works. Understanding how to market and do business finances, along with many other skills, are essential to making profits. Ezell’s giving out grants is helping these other businesses gain traction in their respective industries, which can raise their revenues even more.
In the short term, the donations of leftover Ezell’s food are providing nourishment for hungry people and keeping perfectly good food out of the waste bins. Some long-term effects include the reduction of non-biodegradable food waste out of landfills and other disposal areas as well as the reduction of hunger problems. If Ezell’s continues to find organizations to donate leftover food to, then more people can seek these out and receive the food they need to remain in good health. Inflation is causing food to be even more expensive, and less people can afford it, so having places where hungry individuals can get sustenance will keep everyone fed.
Society is changing tremendously every day, there’s something new every month, week and/or year, there’s a new trend. As we were interviewing Lewis, he talks about “keeping up with the trends” and how important it is to not get left behind with these trends or to “miss out”. Technology for this new society/generation is one of the most trendiest things. This innovation of mobile ordering or having kiosk and 3rd party delivery services (door dash) is a huge benefit to society because that is the trend that we have become used to.
I think that benefits for society and the environment are definitely a play into trends, because in that exact moment you are benefited by a trend that you are playing into because everyone else is as well… It’s a trend. That’s what a trend is about, everyone playing into what’s up to date. The thing about that is sometimes they stick around, Lewis adding to his business innovation and by thinking about using kiosk and starting to use door dash is something that we as a society have gotten used to and is something that is beneficial for everyone. Since the pandemic hit not only was everyone on their phones but everyone was also in the house. And when they were in the house, they were ordering food and all of the other things, which is why door dash is a very beneficial thing. But so is kiosk because our society since the pandemic has also gotten use to and comfortable with the no contact ordering, kiosk is perfect for that. Overall, these are both very beneficial for society.
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Lewis Rudd, Founder
Ezells Famous Chicken, a restaurant that has been around for 38 years that started by two friends Lewis Rudd and Ezell. Standing for quality, community, family, tradition, and giving back. And of course make sure to always have the best and most delicious fried chicken you've ever tasted. As Lewis Rudd says, “Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to raise a business.”