About this project
***UPDATE: We have published our initial Rooster Soup Co. menu, including Pastramen (pictured). Read about it atFooboozand City Paper. If you'd like to be the first to eat Pastramen, Chicken Noodle Pho and Yemenite Thai Green Curry, Back us for $100 and be invited to the Rooster Soup Pop-Up on October 11, 2014.***
***UPDATE, July 22, 2014: Beginning today, every Backer who pledges or has pledged at least $20 will have their name permanently inscribed on the wall at Rooster Soup Co., and written inside an origami paper rooster folded by guests of Broad Street Ministry and incorporated into the design of the restaurant. Get in on the ground floor of something that will change the conversation about problems that affect every single one of us. There are only 4 days left. Put your name on the wall.***
In Philadelphia there is a place – five places, actually – where you can get the best fried chicken and donuts of your life at the same time. It’s called Federal Donuts, and all we do is make donuts, fried chicken and coffee.
Because we buy whole chickens, we have backs and bones we can’t use, and have to pay to have them taken away and disposed of – about 1,000 lbs of chicken per week, in fact, from the highest quality, air-chilled chickens, that are raised on an all-vegetable diet without antibiotics.
Stuffing a landfill with 1,000 pounds of nutrition every single week is not only absurd, it's twice as ridiculous when people are going hungry here in Philadelphia.
At first, we thought we would make soup to feed hungry people. We soon found out there was an opportunity to make an even bigger impact by forging a more powerful partnership.
Philadelphia is the poorest large city and one of the hungriest Congressional Districts in America. If all you want is a meal, there are ample places to get fed. But there’s only one place where those Philadelphians experiencing hunger, homelessness, and poverty are served a meal, can receive essential services, and feel part of a community.
Every week, 1,200 people come to Broad Street Ministry's Hospitality Collaborative to eat a healthy and delicious meal (prepared by an Executive Chef and served tableside by volunteer waitstaff), to check their mail, or to get a change of clothes.
Most importantly, vulnerable Philadelphians come to Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative to feel at home.
But the demand at Broad Street’s Hospitality Collaborative grows every day and what Broad Street Ministry truly needs more than anything else is money.
That's when we realized: Turning delicious chicken into money is something we're good at.
We want to turn our practically free chicken stock into tasty soups that you can buy. And we'll donate 100% of the profit from every bowl to Broad Street’s Hospitality Collaborative.
Based on our 10 years experience in the restaurant industry, we forecast annual profits at Rooster Soup Co. of $50,000 the first year, growing to $100,000 annually after five years.
Even just the first year's $50,000 in profit can supply 24,272 meals to needy guests.
That's why we're asking for your help to open the Rooster Soup Company, and turn this into a reality.
Better than a one-time gift…
Instead of a one-time donation, your Kickstarter dollars will help us build a perpetual money machine: Nearly-free chicken stock in, jobs and donations out.
You'll help us create a model of monetary giving free of the extra work required for grants and traditional donor models.
Does that sound unusual? That's because it is!
We're veterans of the hospitality industry - at every price point. We can make it work with your help.
Below, you'll find detailed information on how our profit donations will deliver for those in need, who our giving partner is, what your Kickstarter backing is needed for, and how else you can help.
In short, though:
We want to use high-quality chicken backs & bones that would go to waste…
… to make delicious soup to sell
… and donate 100% of our profits to a local organization dedicated to helping those in need
And we can't do this without your help. That's why we're Kickstarting the startup capital needed to set up the restaurant, in order to start serving up soup & generating revenue for Broad Street Hospital Collaborative.
Please join us in giving a sustainable hand up to vulnerable Philadelphians.
Why Federal Donuts and the Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative joined forces
The Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative offers four meals per week, serving approximately 1,200 Philadelphians experiencing hunger, homelessness, and poverty. This year, Broad Street’s chef will prepare over 60,000 individual platings. Broad Street distributes personal care items like underwear, socks, deodorant, and soap in a way that affirms the dignity of its guests, over 43,000 such items last year. And Broad Street serves as the mailing address for over 1,750 people in need of a home base. In addition to receiving correspondence with loved ones and prescription medication through the mail service, having a mailing address is the first step to getting an identification card or a job. The Broad Street mail service handled over 52,000 pieces of mail in 2013.
Those are the nuts and bolts. More broadly, the Hospitality Collaborative is committed to bringing healing through hospitality. The Hospitality Collaborative uses a cutting edge trauma-informed, harm-reduction model, combining best practices from a wide variety of fields and emphasizing a sense that there is always enough for everyone. How does it work?
First, trauma-informed means that the staff and volunteers at Broad Street assume that everyone who comes through the doors has undergone trauma due to hunger, homelessness, or poverty. It means that the Hospitality Collaborative does everything possible to reduce anxiety and not trigger a trauma response.
For example, no guest at Broad Street ever stands in a line. When most of us stand in line, we trust that we’ll get what we’re waiting for when we get to the front of the line. But for Broad Street’s guests, the experience is often a long time waiting… for nothing.
So guests of Broad Street choose where they’d like to sit at round tables with centerpieces and tablecloths. And then volunteers come and bring them a beautifully plated, delicious and nutritious meal on real china with metal forks and knives. Most importantly, no one waited in line for it.
Second, harm-reduction means that we assume Broad Street is the safest place for our guests to be. Many guests of Broad Street struggle with mental illness and are sometimes talking to people we can’t see or saying things that many of us would find scary or unsettling. Broad Street commits to getting to know these guests, focusing mostly on making sure they feel safe and comfortable.
Broad Street is committed to making sure that guests, especially those in distress or struggling with a mental illness or addiction, know they are safe at the Hospitality Collaborative. They don’t need to leave or rush through their meals. Broad Street doesn’t have any metal detectors and doesn’t employ any uniformed security - and hasn’t had to call law enforcement in over four years.
The bottom line is that Broad Street is not a soup kitchen, it’s a household. The trauma-informed, harm-reduction model demonstrates our commitment to radical hospitality, the dignity of every person, and the long-term flourishing of our guests.
With your help, we can create a perpetual revenue stream to keep the Hospitality Collaborative strong in the face of ever-increasing need.
The Rooster Soup Company’s innovative profit-non-profit model will help Broad Street scale In 2013, Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative served 51,700 meals to 3,500 individual people, up from 23,600 meals in 2012. Need is increasing at an incredible pace.
At the same time need is growing, state and federal funding is shrinking -- creative, collaborative funding sources are more necessary than ever.
With your help, and Rooster Soup Company's projected first year profits, we can supply 24,272 meals to vulnerable guests. That will go a long way towards helping Broad Street serve everyone who needs it.
And with your help, and hard work, and luck, we can grow that profit every year to help Broad Street help the increasing number of people vulnerable to economic upheaval.
Okay, how can I help? What will my Kickstarter money buy?
Our goal of $150,000 sounds like a lot of money, but it’s actually not enough to open a restaurant like Rooster Soup Co. Thankfully, we have a few heavy-hitter donors who are willing to donate an additional $100,000 to complete our startup capital… if we can fully fund this Kickstarter to prove the Philadelphia community will support us.
That's why we truly need your help. We cannot do this without you.
Here's exactly how your money will be used
If we are fully funded, we'll receive our private donor match, and allocate our $250,000 in total startup capital as follows:
$125,000 will go to renovate our retail location for Rooster Soup Co.
$90,000 in furniture, fixture and equipment – most of that number is kitchen equipment.
$2,000 in licenses and permits.
$15,000 in professional fees to a lawyer, architect and accountant.
$5,000 in opening food inventory.
$13,000 working capital and pre-opening expenses: training staff, buying business cards, electricity bills and everything else.
We've done this before; we've run the numbers, and we're doing things as lean as we reasonably can.
You might wonder why certain things cost so much — a very reasonable question!
We need to ensure that the restaurant can turn out enough soup to turn a profit, and of course become a place customers will want to visit and revisit. Our experience has proven that spending less may put a ceiling on our potential, especially if it impacts our production capacity, or our ability to attract & retain customers. That would make it much harder to meet our profit goals.
Our goal is not just to open a restaurant, but to earn a net profit of $50,000+ per year, based on our projections, plus create ten full-time jobs for local people.
In just over three years, Rooster Soup Company's charitable giving will eclipse its startup capital… and continue to do so for many years.
Think of Rooster Soup Company as an investment annuity for our neighbors in need. We can generate a higher profit for a good cause With dramatically reduced food and kitchen costs because of our free source of chicken stock, Rooster Soup Co. projects a profit margin of 20%, a vast improvement over the standard restaurant profit margin of 12%.
What we're personally contributing
Opening and operating a successful restaurant is incredibly difficult and time-consuming, requiring thousands of hours of up-front planning, development and implementation.
The principals of Federal Donuts and Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative are contributing our time and expertise at no cost to Rooster Soup Company.
Post-opening, the principals will continue to provide management, oversight, strategy and marketing services to Rooster Soup Company at no cost.
Federal Donuts is also contributing the primary ingredient of Rooster Soup Company, chicken stock, practically for free. This ongoing contribution will create significantly enhanced profit margins, effectively creating a multiplier effect on the amount of money Rooster Soup Company is able to contribute to the Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative.
We're the best people to start & run this innovative profit/non-profit model.
We have the ingredients for soup and we know how to set up and run a successful, sustainable, profitable restaurant. If anyone can make this work, and continue working for years and years, it's us.
Not to toot our own horns, but… Steve Cook and Mike Solomonov of CookNSolo have over 10 years’ experience opening and operating restaurants in Philadelphia, including Zahav, Percy Street Barbecue, and Federal Donuts.
Federal Donuts has been critically acclaimed in the press by The New York Times, Saveur, Bon Appetit, and USA Today, and has appeared on national televisions shows The Chew, Unique Sweets, BrewDogs, 1st Look, VH1 Big Morning Buzz, and has an upcoming July 2, 2014 appearance on Good Morning America.
Our restaurant Zahav is one of only five restaurants currently ranked Four Bells: Superior, Philadelphia Inquirer critic Craig LaBan’s highest designation. Mike and Steve were named "Empire Builders," in 2012 by Food & Wine magazine.
In 2011, Mike Solomonov won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: MidAtlantic, which is like winning an Oscar for your food.
Broad Street Ministry’s no slouch either. The Hospitality Collaborative’s unique approach to serving those in need has been covered by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and City Paper, as well as the Huffington Post.
In addition to the Hospitality Collaborative, Broad Street Ministry has a robust residential worshiping community that meets every Sunday and is committed to being a progressive religious voice.
We love Federal Donuts but Broad Street Ministry is no stranger to unlikely hospitality partnerships.
Broad Street Ministry has been recognized for the exemplary way it uses its 114-year old neo-Gothic building.
Broad Street Ministry Founder and Convening Minister Rev. Bill Golderer is a 2014 recipient of the Steppy Homelessness Advocacy Award.
Prior to founding Broad Street Ministry, Bill was the founding Director of the Center for Church Life at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. Before that, he worked as a pastor in Chicago and in electoral politics in Washington DC. Read more about Bill here.
And if you want to see Bill on tv, he appears in the current season of The Bible Rules, on H2.
Our legal structure reflects our mission
Rooster Soup Company will be an independent entity jointly controlled by Federal Donuts and Broad Street Ministry. We won’t be a legally designated as a 501c3 non-profit because Rooster will not be directly performing charitable work, but instead will create a revenue stream for Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative.
Joint ownership is important to us; this is not some super-secret profit-making venture. 100% of our net profits will go to Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative, which will be clearly spelled out in our operating agreement, along with all other corporate governance issues. Although the operating agreement does not exist yet, we anticipate that each party (Federal and Broad Street) will have negative control over material changes to operations, assets, etc. Specifically, no changes could be made to the provisions governing profit distributions without everyone’s consent.
Net profits basically means whatever is leftover after we pay all of our expenses (food, labor, rent, utlities, etc.). This will all be calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles and reviewed by an independent accountant. Neither Federal Donuts nor CookNSolo nor anyone else involved will charge a management fee to Rooster, other than any person who may be directly employed as a manager at Rooster Soup.
We do not believe there is any tax benefit available to Federal Donuts from its relationship with Rooster Soup Company. Federal Donuts will contribute the primary ingredient (chicken backs and bones) of the soup to Rooster Soup at no cost, period.
While it is our intention to make the soup itself (or at least the chicken soup base) as low cost as possible, we also realize that there are ancillary costs associated with turning chicken bones into soup, including vegetables, utilities, labor and transportation. If these hard costs rise to a level that materially impacts our Federal Donuts business, we will look to recoup these costs. In any event, Rooster's food cost will be significantly lower than if it did not have this free source of chicken bones. The #1 priority of Rooster Soup is to make as much money for Broad Street Ministry as possible.
You've made it all the way down here…
Please, would you help us use what would be thrown away to create jobs and sustainably fund hospitality for our neighbors in need?
Even $20 will help us get that much closer to fully funded… and the matching donations from our private donors.
Risks and challenges
Beyond your contribution, we need your help. Getting the word out about Rooster Soup Co. in the summer is less than ideal – please share that you’ve pledged with your friends, neighbors and anyone you can think of to help us reach our funding goal and make lasting change in Philadelphia.
Please give to Rooster Soup Co. today, and share your pledge to inspire others to do the same. Every day we all walk by people who are suffering from hunger and homelessness; pledging to Rooster Soup Co. is an opportunity to do something about it that makes a real difference.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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