Buy a Meal, feed a Community

(Boston, MA) Philanthropy never tasted so good! An innovative start-up is changing the way people dine in the Boston area by encouraging humanitarian initiative from people who simply like to dine out every so often. This seemingly simple task that most of us consider a habit can feed people who might not have the means to dine at restaurants.

The good-hearted idea was started by Dan Napierski, current CEO and founder of Phfeast, after analyzing a similar situation at his daughter’s school and drew the conclusion that regardless of the environment where one lives, be it suburban or urban, there are children in schools who are still using food stamps. From this revelation emerged the idea behind Phfeast: many of restaurants have unused capacity, and this capacity could be used to provide meals to people who would be extremely appreciative of the opportunity to do something they are not able to do.

feedspeopleHow does it work? Phfeast allows restaurant clientele to check in at participating restaurants, and by eating there they can score points in order to earn a free meal for someone else in need.

The idea of matching restaurants with families by using local food pantries was one that Mr. Napierski found promising: this would allow families to generate free meals for other people within their own community. Once he realized he could turn this considerate idea into a business, Mr. Napierski got to work: he began by developing a strong marketing plan, but he recognized that when you are just a single person with a great idea, you need to start small before becoming all the more ambitious; “start by tapping your own personal circle and talk to people who can help.” He suggested that start-ups and entrepreneurs make use of incubators, consulters, and other development companies that can be of great assistance along the process.

Like any start-up, Mr. Napierski explained that one must be ready and willing to embrace all the hardships that come from starting a new business: “expect problems.” Mr. Napierski mentioned that a strategy of his was to keep costs low for his business, and if need be, to tap on savings in order to get over any financial struggles. The important thing is to keep having faith in your start-up and to let things take their natural place.

The initial reception of Phfeast was a curious but also confused reaction from restaurant owners, since the idea of giving away meals for free in exchange of a family coming in and accumulating points does not seem rather profitable for the restaurant. Yet, participating restaurants of Phfeast are restaurants that are already active in their communities, which meant that these restaurants were easy to target. Thanks to this business, more and more businesses are realizing that there is more to owning a business than expecting a profit: not only is it your job and profession, but it can also turn into something philanthropic and charitable.

A truly altruistic individual with a wonderful mission, Mr. Napierski created Phfeast in hopes of doing a little good for his community, but in consequence that also created a culture that supports selfless acts, without compromising the opportunity to be innovate and profitable. Yes, all businesses need a profit, and as Mr. Napierski explains, “you have to plan everything and expect that things will take longer to happen, especially revenue.” But certainly, patience should not be a foreign concept for any business owner. It might be helpful to keep in mind this quote from Jean-Jacques Rousseau; “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” And many of our start-ups featured here on Au’Loni Magazine demonstrate the truth of this quote, including Phfeast. So be on the lookout for this unique start-up—they might come to your neighborhood sooner than you think, and if they do, treat yourself (and someone else) to a meal for the greater good.