Our company had always done pro bono work for various clients. For example, we built a website for G.A.I.N. (Guam Animals in Need) and we also built a site for the now defunct Gift of Life (Blood donation group on Guam) but we never actually structured it into our business plan. When we moved the company to Hawaii, we did personal work as a foster family with the Hawaii Dog Foundation and expected that we’d find a group to assist with web work as we’d done on Guam.
But after the meeting at Kaakako Park where you spoke about social entrepreneurship, we talked at length about maybe the missing ingredient in our business strategy was something like what you shared
– where everything we did could benefit the community in a tangible way. And, it could also bring our clients into the circle as well and benefit them too. Erik came up with the idea of “Everybody Eats” and we approached the Hawaii Foodbank. To make a long story short, the program involves our website, HawaiiDiner.com, the restaurant subscribers to the site, the dining patrons, the Foodbank and the hungry in our island ohana. Restaurants subscribe to the website and 25% of their subscription fee is donated directly by them to the HFB and they can take a tax deduction. The socially conscious consumer can choose to patronize an “Everybody Eats” participating restaurant. Even though the amount donated monthly by each restaurant is not large, a single dollar translates into $20 worth of food. And that makes a real difference in the lives of those living in food-insecure households in Hawaii.
As you know, it has been a challenge to gather restaurant subscribers for the site and though we had acquired some very good restaurants before launching the EE program, since we rolled it out in mid-October, we have added twice as many restaurants in a single month than in the previous three months. And, many of our existing restaurant subscribers were happy to sign on to the program as well.
President and CEO of HawaiiDiner.com