Creating sustainble social impact in communities takes a village. Every Even Stevens forges four partnerships per store with organizations who are committed to alleviating food insecurity and solving root problems. Before setting up shop in a new neighborhood, we visit with local non-profits and learn how hunger uniquely effects their community.
You and your friends purchase sandwiches at Even Stevens. At the end of every month, we count how many we’ve sold. If X number of sandwiches are sold, we owe an equal number of sandwiches to that shop’s partners.
And it’s not just sandwiches. Any menu item on [this list] gives back.
We set each non-profit partner up with an account through our own distributor. With this, they can order sandwich ingredients including breads, meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, spices, condiments, dairy, cooking aids and operational supplies. Their order is then delivered right to their door, so they can get just what they need, right when they need it. This also allows them to cut down on waste.
After our partners receive a delivery, non-profit staff and volunteers rally to make sandwiches (or casseroles, or salads or anything that can be made from sandwich stuff). Our food bank and pantry partners are also able to stock their shelves with both our fresh and shelf-stable items where their clients can then take them home to make them into a meal themselves.
Sandwich donations allow non-profit partners to save time and money on feeding their clients and redirect those efforts toward the programs that change lives: job training, legal assistance, housing, counseling and substance abuse programs, to name a few. It’s part of our commitment to creating sustainable impact. Not just saying we do.
Your contributions have broadened the menu for women and children at the YWCA. They get to taste foods that they never would have had a chance to try before.
First, members of our Cause team research, seek out and build relationships with awesome non-profit partners that provide food service to our Even Stevens neighborhoods. Each location partners with four local non-profit partners.
Second, we give our partners access to an account with our food distributor, Sysco, where they can order fresh or shelf-stable sandwich ingredients at strategically negotiated wholesale prices.
Third, we open our restaurant, staff it with awesome experience creators, and sell amazing sandwiches to customers whose hunger reminds them how important access to food is!
Fourth, at the end of each month, the number of sandwiches sold by each Even Stevens location is multiplied by the average cost of ingredients for our non-profit sandwiches. That amount is divvied up between the restaurant’s non-profit partners based on need and each partner receives their food-order budget for that month (plus any roll-over amounts from past months).
Fifth, our non-profit orders whatever products they want off of an approved list of 100+ items whenever they need them.
Sixth, Sysco delivers those products right to their door!
Seventh, our non-profit partner’s staff and volunteers rally together to feed food insecure members of your community.
Eighth, we constantly review, communicate and follow up to make sure our non-profit partners are happy and that resources are being utilized in the best way possible.
No. Once our partners order the product they want, they can make what they choose with it. Although the products we provide can all be used to make sandwiches, we understand that not everyone wants to eat sandwiches for every meal. We also understand that non-profits often have other products on hand that they are trying to use. For example, if they have tons of noodles that need to be eaten, they could potentially order cheese and tuna fish from us and make a huge tuna casserole to feed their clients. We let them get strategic with all of the donations they have on hand and give them the opportunity to provide a varied and exciting menu to those dining with them. Other pantry-style partners may prefer to choose shelf-stable items. Our nonprofits know their clients and their food needs better than anyone. The last thing we want to do is limit our partners by putting unnecessary restrictions on how they can use precious resources like food.
Good budgeting and strong relationships. Our partnerships with food manufacturers and distributors allow our non-profit partners to purchase bulk sandwich product at a great wholesale price. Sysco handles donation delivery for a discount. And our non-profit partners handle all the food prep through staff and volunteers.
With all this considered, it only costs us about $0.54 or less for every sandwich donated! This $0.54 is a blended average of the cost of multiple types of sandwiches that we donate products for (including ham, turkey, PB&J, tuna, pork, BLT, pulled pork, pot roast, breakfast burrito, egg salad and more!) And that $0.54 goes a long way with each of our partners getting hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of product budget every month.
Not to mention that each of our partnerships are exceptional in aiding us in word-of-mouth marketing to help drive sales (as are our other fantastic partners and customers!). That just leaves us to handle the whole “mind-blowing sandwich shop” thing.
Curious as to how far $.54 goes? Here’s an example allocation for one store:
Sandwiches donated for the month of January: 7,500 sandwiches
Non-profit A serves 350 people per day: 45% of total = 3,375 sandwiches x $.54 = $1,822.50
Non-profit B serves 150 people per day: 30% of total = 2,250 sandwiches x $.54 = $1,215.00
Non-profit C serves 30 people per day: 10% of total = 750 sandwiches x $.54 = $405.00
Non-profit D serves 75 people per day: 15% of total = 1,125 sandwiches x $.54 = $607.50
No. We let the non-profit partners decide which products they would like to order from our select list of products. This includes ingredients for sandwiches like deli meat, pulled pork, burgers, tuna fish, pot roast, tacos, egg salad, BLTs, and PB&J’s. Our partners order these ingredients from Sysco, the same supplier that our stores order from.
We wanted to create a giving program that would 1) effectively make a difference 2) be realistic and achievable and 3) prevent waste. We discovered that the most effective way to give is to partner with the experts in giving – badass non-profit organizations who not only have the time, but the expertise to place all their efforts into making a difference. By providing our partners with in-kind food donations, they can reallocate funds they would otherwise be spending on food to put towards other programs that perpetuate their mission.
To realistically pull this off and prevent waste, we chose to empower our nonprofit partners with as much decision-making power as possible. We’ve set up Sysco accounts for our partners through which they can order the products they choose, in the amounts they choose, whenever they choose to order. They then receive their orders on their chosen day. This way, they can effectively plan meals and accommodate for product storage, which reduces waste. And all we do is provide the green – which makes it realistic and achievable on our end.
By distributing all donations through our non-profit partners, we ensure that they are being used in the most efficient and effective way possible. Unlike our NPPs, we are not equipped with the facilities and knowledge to create a truly effective giving program. Rather we trust our partners to use our products in a way that will benefit the most people possible. If you, your cousin, or Margie are food insecure, our non-profit partners are there to help you in more ways than one.
No. The decision-making power is in the hands of our non-profit partners. They choose what products they’d like to order and what they’d like to make with those products. Forcing products on our partners creates more work for them and ignores their personal expertise and ability to cater well to their clients.
Sure! But we’re doing more than a few things differently. Through food service, we have a unique opportunity to keep our buy-one-give-one model local and consistent. Instead of sending a donation overseas, you can know that the donation from your sandwich is being used to benefit someone in your own community. Plus, you have the ability to give this service again and again. Think about it: you can buy a pair of shoes a couple times a year, but you can buy a sandwich every day. (Sandwiches taste better anyway.)
We have learned a lot from observing the TOMS model. They were one of the first to make the buy-one-give-one model work and have adapted as needed as they’ve grown and faced the difficult issues that surround donating. One important lesson we’ve learned by observing the growth and changes in their company is that donating through the form of partnerships is far more effective than giving directly to clients. We prefer to put our trust in those who work with clients every day rather than assuming we know best.
According to Feeding America.org a startling 1 in 8 Americans still face food insecurity every day. Food Insecurity, according to the USDA, is a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Realizing this incredible need in our own backyard, coupled with our love for unique community cultures, prompted us to keep sandwich donations local.
You’re paying forward, but your wallet isn’t taking the heat. The cost of our donation sandwiches is not rolled into the price you pay. But the money you put through our stores keeps business rolling and product flowing to our non-profits partners.
Every product that we offer can either be utilized as a sandwich ingredient, usually in more ways than one, or is necessary for safe food handling. We offer meats like hamburger, pot roast, turkey, ham and bacon, wheat bread, buns, tortillas, pitas, fresh veggies, a variety of cheeses, proteins like peanut butter, tuna fish and eggs, condiments, spices, flour, oil, operational supplies like gloves, foil, and dish soap, and more! Our list is always improving as we continue to receive feedback and input from our partners.
Variety, nutrition, and convenience are balanced with affordability. We regularly assess how our products are working for our partners and incorporate their feedback as to which products are most helpful for their organization.
Our give-back mission is sandwich for sandwich. However, we’re a bitchin’ sandwich shop first and foremost. Stuff like tomato basil bisque and party tots make our customers happy, and the happier our customers are, the more we can give. Items that do count for donation include all of the breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, our entire sandwich lineup, kid’s meals and catering of the above items. Salads can count too if wrapped for $1 more!
There’s a shload - four local partners for each store! Each of our partners is fighting hunger in their own way. Although we partner with many incredible programs targeted specifically at feeding the community’s food insecure populations, not all of our partners are food banks and soup kitchens. Our NPP’s work with a variety of clientele including: homeless individuals, seniors, victims of domestic violence and rape, low-income families, recovering addicts, people living with HIV/AIDS, children and youth, Native American populations and more. Visit each store’s location page to learn more about their specific local partners.
We look for inclusive organizations that are in good standing with their local community members. We figure y’all’re a pretty good judge of character after all. In addition they must be a certified 501(c)3 non-profit organization that incorporates feeding into their mission and programs. They must also have a sizable client base and adequate storage for bulk product donations, which helps eliminate waste and encourages safe food handling. If you’re interested in becoming a non-profit partner, feel free to fill out an application and send it to email@example.com
- we’d love to hear from you!
If you’re looking for the secret sauce, it’s partnership. In order to do good and do well, we put our time and energy into what we do best. For us, that means running successful craft casual restaurants that turn customers into contributors. For non-profits, it means working towards a cause to create positive results in the community.
By sending your contribution to an organization that knows food insecurity best, we make a stronger – and more lasting – impact in the neighborhoods we love.