Kickstarting for Hunger
Podcast #36 — Aired July 17, 2014

What if you could help someone who really needed it just by eating lunch? This week on BetterWorldians Radio, we’re talking about a Kickstarter campaign to use resources from a successful line of restaurants to care for the hungry in Philadelphia. Our guests this week are Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov, owners of Federal Donuts and Andy Greenhow of Broad Street Ministry. Together, the two organizations are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund Rooster Soup Co., a restaurant that will donate 100% of profits to Broad Street’s Hospitality Collaborative to provide services for the hungry and homeless in Philadelphia. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

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Chef Michael Solomonov
Partner, Federal Doughnuts Executive Chef & Co-Owner, Zahav

A 2011 James Beard Award winner for “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic,” Chef Michael Solomonov is the executive chef at Zahav, Philadelphia’s renowned modern Israeli restaurant. Known for his extraordinary skill at transforming simple foods into artful culinary masterpieces, he is widely regarded as one of the city’s top young chefs and entrepreneurs. In addition to his duties at Zahav, of which is he co-owner, Chef Solomonov is a partner in Percy Street Barbecue, Dizengoff, Abe Fisher and Federal Donuts, a mostly take-out, donuts-and-fried-chicken shop serving exceptional coffee, cake donuts and fried chicken. He is a graduate of the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, FL. Born in Israel, he grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and now calls Philadelphia home.

Rev. Andy Greenhow
Minister of Stewardship, Broad Street Ministry

Rev. Andy Greenhow is the Minister of Stewardship, Congregational Partnership, and Belonging at Broad Street Ministry, a broad-minded faith community committed to extending radical hospitality to all of Philadelphia, particularly those least likely to receive it anywhere else. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), having received his Master of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was the recipient of the C. Frederick and Cleta R. Mathias Memorial Prize in Worship and Pastoral Ministry. Prior to seminary, he served as a long-term volunteer rebuilding homes destroyed by the floods following Hurricane Katrina at Project Homecoming, a disaster recovery and community redevelopment non-profit in New Orleans. His undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto were in Cinema Studies, Political Science, and Near & Middle Eastern Studies.

Episode Transcript

Gregory Hansell
Hi, this is Greg. Im so glad you can all join us here on BetterWorldians Radio. Let me first just tell you a bit about my Dad, Ray, who you just heard from. Hes a serial entrepreneur, who successfully founded and with MarySue took public a national marketing firm. Giving back has always been really important to Dad, who supports many causes, especially disadvantaged children and their families. And, by the way, were the family team that created the popular social game on Facebook called A Better World. It rewards players for doing good deeds, while helping to raise money and awareness for charities. To date, over 22 million good deeds have been done in A Better World by more than two-and-a-half million people. And in the month of July were supporting One Simple Wish, a nonprofit thats brightening the lives of children in foster care and at-risk youth one simple wish at a time. When our players complete 500,000 good deeds within the game well donate funds to grant wishes for three children in need as they search for their forever families. Joining us this week on BetterWorldians Radio are Michael Solomonov and Felicia DAmbrosio of Federal Donuts. They have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Rooster Soup Co., a new restaurant that will donate 100% of its proceeds to Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia to help feed the homeless. Also joining us on the show later will be Reverend Andy Greenhow from Broad Street Ministry.

Raymond Hansell
Let me start by introducing you to Michael and Felicia. A 2011 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic, Chef Michael Solomonov is the Executive Chef at Zahav, Philadelphias renowned modern Israeli restaurant. Known for his extraordinary skill at transforming simple foods into artful culinary masterpieces, he is widely regarded as one of the citys top young chefs and entrepreneurs. In addition to his duties at Zahav, of which he is Co-Owner of several restaurants, including Federal Donuts, a mostly take-out, donuts and fried chicken shop serving exceptional coffee, cake donuts and fried chicken. He is also a graduate of the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. Born in Israel, he grew up in Pittsburgh, and he now calls Philadelphia home. Felicia DAmbrosio is Co-Founder and Communications Chief of Federal Donuts, the countrys first fried chicken and donut shop, called world class by New York Times Restaurant Critic, Pete Wells. When not happily lashed to her laptop, she enjoys yoga, farmers markets, and live music experiences where she can dance awkwardly without judgment. Michael, Felicia, its so great to have you join us today on BetterWorldians Radio. Thanks for coming onboard.

Felicia D’ambrosio
Thank you so much for having us.

Michael Solomonov
Thanks for having us.

Raymond Hansell
Okay, to begin with, why dont you tell us a little bit about Federal Donuts and exactly what you serve?

Michael Solomonov
So Federal Donuts, we do Korean style fried chicken, we do cake donuts, and we do coffee.

Raymond Hansell
Oh, okay.

Michael Solomonov
All the three major food groups.

Raymond Hansell
The three major food groups, okay, all right. And making the chicken served at Federal Donuts some parts of the bird, I understand, get thrown away, so can you tell me a little about that?

Michael Solomonov
Yes, well, we just switched to using Amish and natural chickens, and we were presented with these whole chickens. And growing up in Jewish households, you know, the chicken backs and some of the chicken wings and some of the drumsticks and that sort of stuff always gets turned into soup, which is arguably maybe the best product of chicken. Its sort of nourishing and its really healing, and we thought that why not do something with that rather than just throw it out. Steve, who is our business partner, sits on the Hospitality Board of Broad Street Ministry, so we thought that why not create a chicken soup restaurant, basically a restaurant that was built on using these parts of the chicken that we dont use for Federal Donuts and take 100% of the proceeds and give it to people that are in need.

Raymond Hansell
So your first thought was to make the soup with the leftover chicken and that would go to the hungry, but then I understand you realized you could have a greater impact with a different approach?

Michael Solomonov
Yes, absolutely. Well, I think that, you know, it was probably my idea, which was very shortsighted. I was like, well, why not just give chicken soup or chicken broth or chicken bones to shelters? But whats interesting, Broad Street Ministry is, in addition to feeding people that are hungry that are in need it also does plenty of social services and, for instance, mailboxes. Like 1,700 people I think their addresses are at Broad Street Ministry. So, in addition to obviously feeding people that are hungry and in need, there are services that help people in many different ways.

Raymond Hansell
And so this Rooster Restaurant will be a regular restaurant where the general public can come and eat lunch on a regular basis, isnt that right?

Michael Solomonov
Oh, yes.

Raymond Hansell
And you anticipate sort of what kinds of food will you be serving at that restaurant?

Michael Solomonov
Well, its going to be all based on soup. And, Felicia, do you want to take this?

Felicia D’ambrosio
Yes, so Rooster Soup Company is going to be kind of like Federal Donuts, a place that you can go in, grab something to eat, you can sit down and chill or you can take it with you, you know, very friendly and just the kind of place anybody might want to go for lunch, so its just a restaurant for regular people. And were basically going to make super delicious soup from this really excellent chicken stock were making from the Federal Donuts chicken backs. And we already have a few ideas, Mike and Steven have come up with some really delicious items that were excited to premiere when we get this Kickstarter fully funded, and we actually have added a Kickstarter reward, where if you back us for $100 you will be invited to the Rooster Soup Popup, which will be the first time any of these menu items are debuted and everyone will get a chance to taste them and see what theyre in for when we get the restaurant open.

Raymond Hansell
That sounds really very, very inviting. Now you decided to team up with Broad Street Ministry, also in Philadelphia, so why did you choose that organization to be your partner in this situation?

Michael Solomonov
Well, I think it happened pretty organically. I think that Steven (ph) was on the Board, and I think that it was something that we could get behind. What they do is unique and really its inspiring, you know? Once a quarter our company goes and volunteers there, and I think anybody that has ever done that always leaves sort of touched and with maybe more of a sense of purpose. So, for us, it was an easy fit.

Raymond Hansell
Felicia, do you have anything to expand upon on that, as well?

Felicia D’ambrosio
I do. Broad Street, the way that they offer hospitality to their guests is the same way we offer hospitality to our guests in our restaurants. So I think, as Mike said, once you have been there serving lunch or dinner to the Broad Street guests, everyone is welcomed by a host and directed to a table of their choice to sit down at a table with a tablecloth and a centerpiece, and then served by a volunteer server, tableside and theres pitchers of water. And its much more gracious in the way that you would welcome people into your home as opposed to the way that we think about feeding people who are hungry, which is often with a long line and a tray and a sort of like issuing of food. And weve learned from Bill Goldra (ph) and Andy Greenhow of Broad Street Ministry that there are studies about trauma and harm that occurs to people who do wait in line for a long time for essential things, like food, who often get to the end of that line and then theres nothing there for them. And when that happens to you repeatedly you are traumatized by that experience. So Broad Street has really completely innovated the way in which help is offered, and I think its incredibly equalizing. And, for us, we dont want to draw harsh lines between the people who are helping and the people who are receiving help. We are all just people, and thats how we feel in our restaurants, too, so we just really identified with their mission and the way that they carry it out, its really different.

Raymond Hansell
Yes, it sounds very unique and much more elevated than I think the picture many people have in their minds, so.

Felicia D’ambrosio
Yes, its not a soup kitchen, its just not. And, you know, thats one thing, people say, oh, youre going to open a soup kitchen, and were like, no, were going to open something like youve never seen before, totally different, and thats why we need crowd funding to make it happen.

Raymond Hansell
Absolutely. So, Felicia and Michael, how does a restaurant that donates all of its profits work? Whats the business dynamics in that?

Michael Solomonov
Well, the business dynamic, I mean I think that opening any restaurant is a challenge and seeing any profit is a challenge. I think the key thing since the core of the product that were serving is going to be donated by Federal Donuts that gives us a leg up. Being really busy helps, I dont think our check average is going to be huge, but offering good value and expecting sort of modest returns is the way that we view it. Thats what we actually do with all of our restaurants, I mean were not, you know, were not driving like an empty cause or anything like that, but I think like anything its going to be a bit of a challenge and the fact that although chicken stock is going to be made and donated by Federal Donuts and weve gotten a lot of support from some of our vendors, and given the success that our Kickstarter campaign has had we think that the guests and the diners are going to be enthusiastic and willing to help. So much like Federal Donuts its not very expensive, but we I think provide very good value, very good customer service, and a very consistent meal and with that hopefully well be pretty busy.

Raymond Hansell
Yes, it sounds like a really extraordinary collaborative effort because its much more than cash, its the contribution by the vendors, its a lot of your customers coming into play, so I think that this is a really interesting campaign, and I think that the entire Kickstarter campaign, which well get into a little bit later in the show, is I think a perfect venue for helping to get this off the ground. Can you tell us a little bit about the projected annual profits? What do you think you could expect at the end of the year? And how do you think that thats going to serve Broad Street Ministry?

Michael Solomonov
Im not sure, you know, Steve and I were talking about it. Felicia, do you have any idea?

Felicia D’ambrosio
I believe Steve projected first-year profits around $50,000, and then second and third year even doubling to like $100,000 once the business is more mature, but basically Steve expects a modest return but because of the reduced food cost and labor cost associated with the donated stock we should have a higher profit margin than a typical restaurant that has to pay full price for all their food.

Raymond Hansell
Yes, thats a built-in advantage right there, so the profits should be better, which ultimately I guess in that case comes back specifically to the ability to have a bigger contribution to the Broad Street Ministry. Well be getting into a little bit more with the Broad Street Ministry, folks, in this next segment coming up, but before we do is there anything else you think that you want to add to how you feel the Broad Street Ministry will benefit from this?

Michael Solomonov
Oh, gosh, hopefully Broad Streets message is something the whole city should be behind, and I think that more awareness. And I think that anybody that comes in and gets a bowl of soup, in addition to nourishing themselves or experiencing something new from like a food perspective, is literally helping out somebody else that needs it. And having that sort of spiritual and emotional interaction is only beneficial.

Raymond Hansell
Absolutely. Well, were going to take a break right now, but well talk with Reverend Andy Greenhow and my Co-Host, MarySue, when we come back and find out a little bit more about Broad Street Ministrys participation in this in a few minutes. In the meantime, Id like to offer this challenge to our listeners, if you know someone whose acts, no matter how small, are making a difference in the lives of other people wed love to hear about them. Please send us an e-mail at Radio at BetterWorldians Dot Com. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Hi, youre listening to BetterWorldians Radio. Were talking about the Kickstarter campaign to fund Rooster Soup Company, a new restaurant that will donate all of its profits to Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia. And now its time for me to introduce you to Reverend Andy Greenhow. Reverend Greenhow is the Minister of Stewardship, Congregational Partnership, and Belonging at Broad Street Ministry, a broad-minded faith community committed to extending radical hospitality to all of Philadelphia, but particularly those least likely to receive it anywhere else. He is an ordained Minister in the Presbyterian Church, having received his Master of Divinity Degree at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was the recipient of the C. Frederick and Cleta R. Mathias Memorial Prize in Worship and Pastoral Ministry. Lets welcome Andy and MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Hi, Andy.

Andy Greenhow
Hey, how are you?

MarySue Hansell
Good. Glad to have you with us today. Very happy to.

Andy Greenhow
Thanks for having me, its great to be here.

MarySue Hansell
Were very anxious to hear all about what Broad Street Ministry does.

Andy Greenhow
All right.

MarySue Hansell
We heard a little bit from Felicia and Michael, but lets hear it from you. What does it do and who does it serve?

Andy Greenhow
Well, yes, so Broad Street Ministry is a faith community in Center City, Philadelphia, and we have three main areas of programming. First, we do a we have a Sunday worship, you know, residential worshipping community, and we have a youth education program where youth groups and college groups from around the country come to Broad Street and learn about social justice and that kind of stuff, all through the City of Philadelphia through immersive trips. But the area of programming weve been hearing all about today is our hospitality collaborative, so thats the hospitality collaborative is made up of four weekly community meals and then all the social services that go on surrounding that meal. So we do a, you know, we have a clothing closet, personal care items. Mike mentioned 1,700 people getting their mail here. We serve as a mailing address. Access to medical care, that kind of thing. But through it all, basically, we see ourselves as a community space for anyone in Philadelphia who wants to come, and most of our guests are people who experience hunger or homelessness and poverty, a lot of mental illness and some addictions, as well. So, yes, thats a little bit about us.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, can you explain a little bit more about the scope of the need there in Philadelphia?

Andy Greenhow
Sure. Yes, Philly is a city, its the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, and it was built on a lot of big ideas. And its a scene that can be tough to break into, you know, where the people are tough on the outside, but very soft and kind on the inside. But weve were one of the I think were the poorest large city in the country. Theres a point in time count that people do every winter to sort of establish how many people are living with homelessness, how many people are living outside of a traditional house or who are living on the streets. And when we did that count in January that number was over 5,700 people. So were one of the 100 Congressional Districts in the country, the Pennsylvania First District includes Philadelphia and it includes the great city of Chester. Yes, so we experience quite a lot of need here in Philly. Theres cuts to public benefits, rising cost of essentials, it makes it very difficult. But the thing that were really committed to at Broad Street and the thing that our friends at Federal Donuts are also committed to is sure theres a huge scope of need and sure its growing all the time, but we try to be about possibilities. This is like the Rooster Soup Company and Broad Street and Federal Donuts are all about possibilities, and there are a lot, so.

MarySue Hansell
To give our listeners a feel, how many meals do you serve, say, a month or a week?

Andy Greenhow
Yes, a couple different ways to slice it. We do over 1,200 plate servings per week, so this year were on track to serve over 60,000 meals. We actually did 51,700 meals, which was more than the previous six years combined, so we are growing exponentially. Well see probably 3,500 unduplicated people over the course of this year, but at a given meal thats anywhere from 300 to 475 people, so quite a few.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, thats a wonderful amount. Michael and Felicia were saying that no one waits in line, so to give our listeners a picture how does it work? People come in, like in a regular restaurant or?

Andy Greenhow
Well, so the traditional soup kitchen model, right, is you form a line out the door, and then what you do is you get your tray, and you walk through the line, and someone hands you a plate, and then they sort of scoop the stuff onto your plate.

MarySue Hansell
Yes.

Andy Greenhow
And theres the sneeze guard kind of in between, right? We wanted to do this without any sneeze guards, basically. What Felicia and Mike were saying is absolutely right. What we have seen is that with guests, our guests have experienced incredible trauma in their lives, trauma through poverty, hunger, homelessness, all these sorts of things. That when you or I stand in a line we know that when we get to the end of the line what were waiting for is going to be there. Like if Im at the will call window at the Philadelphia Orchestra across the street from my Church here, if I called ahead my tickets are going to be there when I get there. The experience of our guests is that theres not going to be food when they get to the end of the line. So what weve done is our Director of Social Services is a visionary guy, his name is Ed Convoy (ph), and he said were going to deliver all of these services without ever having a person stand in a line. So our guests self-select where they want to sit. A waiter or waitress, a server comes and brings it to their table. If the dining room is full and we cant accommodate everyone who is in the room we have a waiting area up at the front of the sanctuary, and you come in and you say to the person at the Maitre D stand, you know, my name is Andy, theres two in my party. And we say, okay, great, have a seat over there, Andy, well call you as soon as theres a spot available. So, you know, we want to make sure that we do this in every every single thing that we provide we do it without a line, we do it with maximum personal connection, using names, all that kind of stuff, and that way we can reduce some of the trauma of our guests.

MarySue Hansell
Well, you know, that sounds wonderful, it sounds like it really builds their self-esteem and makes them feel very important.

Andy Greenhow
Thats the hope, like we want our guests to feel like theyre going into Federal Donuts or that theyre going into one of these great restaurants that the City of Philadelphia has to offer. The only difference is were not going to bring them a check at the end of the meal, you know, but other than that it's like a restaurant.

MarySue Hansell
Andy, Ive seen pictures of the food that you serve there in some videos and on the web pages, it looked pretty good. Who prepares the food and what kind of food do you serve?

Andy Greenhow
We are really, really, really very proud to say that we have our very own Executive Chef.

MarySue Hansell
Ooh.

Andy Greenhow
Chef Steve Sybil (ph) is our Executive Chef. Hes been with us about two years, and prior to this he was a Chef Manager, sort of like a Sou Chef in the Executive Dining Room at the Comcast Corporation. He was on the top floor of the Comcast Tower. And then he came down here to be with us. So hes a total pro. He orders all the food. He does creative stuff and some classics. So I was asking him this morning what we were doing today? Today hes doing hot open-faced turkey sandwiches, you know, just some old-fashioned comfort food, but yesterday he did a classic Mexican mole, you know, where he made, he used the big bricks of chocolate and the raw onion right on top. Like he does classic dishes from around the world and then he does comfort food, he does all kinds of stuff. He is the best, so were proud of Chef Steve.

MarySue Hansell
That does sound good. Can you talk a bit about what you mean by the abundance? Ive seen that word on your website, what does that mean to Broad Street Ministry?

Andy Greenhow
Well, abundance is one of those things where weve been, weve learned a lot about our approach to serving our guests. So it started with us saying we have more than enough, we have an abundance, you know, there will be seconds, if theres enough, there will be thirds, if theres enough for that. And what weve found is weve actually sort of weve taken the abundance thing and sort of marketed it a little bit. What were saying now is, what we saw with our guests is that when they have been traumatized or living in poverty, when our guests experience abundance they assume there wont be enough for later. So if we say that we have more than enough it actually triggers hoarding, like our guests will sort of pull out Pyrex things in their bags and start scooping food in because they believe that there wont be enough for later. So weve moved away from the idea of abundance, and what were saying now to our guests is there is enough for everybody, there is however many people come through the door there will be enough for them, theres enough for you, there will be enough today and there will be enough tomorrow. My sort of, you know, Im a Presbyterian Minister, and so I like to look at scripture sometimes for this stuff, and I look at the story of the manna in the desert, you know, when the Israelites had enough food for every day. And they were told if you hoard it it will go bad by tomorrow, but there will be enough for tomorrow. So weve kind of taken the abundance thing and just tweaked it a little bit with the trauma of our guests and really focused in on enough. Theres always enough for you, and we find that really works.

MarySue Hansell
Reverend Andy, could you share with our listeners a personal story of maybe one of your guests, of how the Broad Street Ministry really impacted their life?

Andy Greenhow
Man, theres a lot of really good stories. Im thinking about there was a woman who got her mail here at Broad Street. She was one of our very early-on mail subscribers. And she struggled a great deal with alcoholism, and she was abused by her partner. They were living in the train station here, and she disappeared for a while, and we saw that there were medical bills piling up in her mailbox. So we called the hospital that the medical bills were coming from and said, hey, do you have this person here? Im not going to use her name, but do you have this person here? And they said, yes, were wondering what to do with this person, actually, could you come and pay her a visit? It turns out she had been involved in a train accident, and she was okay, but she was severely injured. And we worked with a number of different other care providers in the city, that she was known to, and with this hospital. And she ended up getting a settlement from the train company, and we were able to ensure that she was placed in a conservatorship where this settlement was going to be effectively used, kept away from her abusive partner. And this woman is now living in an assisted care facility in Philadelphia. She is doing well. Shes clean and shes sober, and shes got a place to be thats warm and safe, and shes not living in the train station anymore. And its coming it happened because, in part, we saw that she was missing and we saw that her mailbox was full of medical bills, and we knew we needed to do something. So I always, whenever I get discouraged I think of that story, and feel encouraged again.

MarySue Hansell
Thats really nice. You mentioned some of these other services that you provide. You said people get their mail there?

Andy Greenhow
Yes, so the first thing they need to be able to do, this was shocking to me if you want to access services that are available to you from the State of Pennsylvania you need to prove that youre a resident of the State of Pennsylvania, but if youre homeless how do you prove that youre a resident of the State of Pennsylvania? So like how are you supposed to do that, if youre homeless you dont have identification because you dont have an address. So the first thing people need is a letter of residency that they can then take to the Department of Transportation, where they can get their identification, and then go from there. Weve had veterans who were told by the Veterans Administration, the VA, that you cant actually enter this building unless you have an identification card that you can leave at security.

MarySue Hansell
Interesting.

Andy Greenhow
So how do you get that if you need the services that are inside the building?

MarySue Hansell
Oh, my.

Andy Greenhow
So we started that with like 30 people, and that was four years ago or five years ago now, and were at 1,700. We hover, weve never broken 2,000 people, but we hover around 1,700.

MarySue Hansell
Im really interested in hearing how you feel about your partnership with the potential Rooster Soup Company?

Andy Greenhow
Oh, Im overjoyed. I dont think, I try not to be too much of like a fan boy, like I try not to be too star struck when Im around the good people that Im working with right now because like I used to live in New Orleans, so like I love the food scene, I love that world. And when I came back to Philadelphia for a lot of reasons I was so thrilled that I was in a city with a great casual dining theme. And I remember going to my best friends wedding reception that was at The Hob (ph), where Mike, my Co-Guest here is a Chef. And I was like I cannot believe that Im eating this food, this is the most incredible stuff. And so when this project came up on our radar here at Broad Street I said to my boss, Bog Older (ph), Im like put me in, I want to be in the game, I want to be a part of this. Im absolutely thrilled, and it means a great deal to me that these people that I admire for what they do are interested in the work that were doing here, it just means so much.

Raymond Hansell
Well being hear more about what theyre doing, specifically, in this next segment and also an awful lot about this in this next segment, about the entire Kickstarter campaign, which has gotten off to a great start and is going very strong. But, in the meantime, were going to take another break, and when we come back well talk more with Michael, Felicia and Andy, and my Co-Host, Greg. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Hi, were back now with Chef Michael and Felicia of Federal Donuts, and Reverend Andy of Broad Street Ministry. Were talking about a recent launched Kickstarter campaign to fund Rooster Soup Company, a restaurant that will donate 100% of its proceeds to Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia.

Gregory Hansell
Michael, Felicia, and Andy, hi. This is Greg.

Michael Solomonov
Hey, how are you?

Andy Greenhow
Hi, Greg.

Felicia D’ambrosio
Hi, Greg.

Gregory Hansell
Hi. Andy, I just wanted to say to you, first, actually just coming off of MarySues segment, I really admire what you guys are doing at Broad Street Ministry. I have some seminary training myself, actually, so I think what youre doing at kind of the intersection of service and really awesome food is actually a really great thing, and so thank you, I appreciate that.

Andy Greenhow
Thank you, appreciate it.

Gregory Hansell
Yes, my pleasure. Michael and Felicia, I was telling you during the break that I love Federal Donuts, I worship the food, I love the chicken, and I think its such a great cause, and thats why I wanted to bring you guys on to the show today. So thank you, first off, for a really great Company and a cool idea.

Felicia D’ambrosio
Oh, thank you.

Michael Solomonov
Thanks.

Gregory Hansell
Yes, its my pleasure. So I wanted to talk a bit about the Kickstarter, for either one of you that want to jump in first. For those that might not be familiar, if you wouldnt mind just saying, hey, what is Kickstarter?

Felicia D’ambrosio
So Kickstarter is a website that is a crowd funding platform. So, basically, if you have a good idea, you want to invent a product or start a business or a nonprofit, or like our friend Diva Watson (ph), get enough money to build an art classroom for your inner-city students, you basically can put up a campaign and ask people for money. And Kickstarter has a number of safeguards. Its linked to Amazon payments. And basically if I pledge $20 to cause X, like Rooster Soup Company, if it reaches its funding goal, ours is $150,000 within a prescribed amount of time, our amount of time is 45 days, basically, you have backed just like you would give your money to WHYY or like another sort of not-for-profit, youve backed the campaign, 20 bucks gets deducted from your bank account. And this person, minus the fees that Kickstarter an Amazon takes, now has the startup capital to create the prototype of their product or launch their business or make whatever it is that they wanted to make. And theres a number of restrictions around Kickstarter. You cant use it for just anything, but it is fairly broad in application and its brought a number of interesting products to market. One recently is called the Oculus Rift, and its a virtual reality goggle, like gaming kind of a system, and it has a number of applications. And it just went public, and I think Facebook bought it or something like that, for like billions of dollars. So its a relatively new platform, but crowd funding seems to be something people are really excited about.

Gregory Hansell
Well, thank you for summarizing that for everybody. I was curious, why did you decide to take your plan for Rooster Soup to Kickstarter? Did you have the idea for a Kickstarter first or for the Soup Company? It was kind of a chicken and egg problem there, no pun intended?

Felicia D’ambrosio
Mike, do you want me to do this?

Michael Solomonov
Sure.

Felicia D’ambrosio
From my understanding, when one gets investors for a restaurant, you get a couple people together, one person, you all put in an amount of money and thats your startup capital. $150,000, it sounds like a lot of money, but its not actually even enough to open a restaurant, you need more like $250,000 for a project like this. So, basically, Steven and Mike and Bill at Broad Street Ministry all kind of came up with this Rooster Soup Company crazy idea. And then we cant take on traditional investors because if I gave the project $10,000 I would expect $15,000 back over the next few years, not a zero return. So with crowd funding people receive a reward for backing the project, like a T-shirt or an invite to a party, but theyre pledging far beyond the actual monetary value of the reward that they receive. So theyre basically investing in your idea. This particular application is great for Kickstarter because youre investing, say, $20 now, but your $20 will continue to work in the form of business capital and create a return for Broad Street over many years to come.

Gregory Hansell
Very cool. I saw, since I was a backer, that your campaign got a lot of backing really early on, and what was it like to see that response from fans, that they just piled in?

Felicia D’ambrosio
Well, we just became like junkies immediately, and were just sitting at our desks refreshing Kickstarter and not doing any other work.

Michael Solomonov
Thats like every computer at our Headquarters is like every computer is on the Kickstarter website.

Felicia D’ambrosio
Yes.

Michael Solomonov
And everybody is walking around, asking me about Rooster Soup shirts. Were like robots.

Gregory Hansell
Yes, I like robots, too. What kind of rewards do people receive by funding the Kickstarter?

Michael Solomonov
Well, weve got a few dinners, themselves, a lot of donuts, many, many donuts. We still have a skydiving option, which nobody which weve got eight days left for it, right?

Felicia D’ambrosio
Were going into our eighth day.

Michael Solomonov
Right, exactly, so theres skydiving with me and Mark Vetry (ph). What else are we doing?

Felicia D’ambrosio
Theres all kinds of rewards, you know, from smaller contributions, like three donuts if you back us for $20, to much more extravagant and fabulous rewards, like a private dinner party in your home catered by Mike. And, of course, hes not going to say this, but he won a James Beard Award in 2011, Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, and I think its a hell of a deal, so I hope someone buys it.

Gregory Hansell
Very cool. I know theres been a really big response this week, it seems like theres been a nice tick starting on Monday. And you brought in some new Coeval (ph) this week, as well, right, including like one of the new soups I think I saw?

Felicia D’ambrosio
Yes, and if you back Rooster Soup Company for $100 you and a friend will be able to attend the first Rooster Soup Company Popup, the first tasting of the menu, and the opportunity to try this before anybody else, as well as really make a significant impact in the campaign.

Gregory Hansell
Well, tell the people how they can contribute?

Felicia D’ambrosio
You can go to Kickstarter Dot Com and search for Rooster Soup Company or you could go to Federal Donuts Dot Com/main, m-a-i-n, and thats our website, which will take you directly to the Kickstarter link. You could also visit our Twitter or our Facebook for Federal Donuts, there are numerous links on both to the Kickstarter. Instagram, as well. I think if you Googled Rooster Soup Company you would probably get to us.

Gregory Hansell
What does it tell you guys that people have been so enthusiastic in their support of Rooster Soup?

Felicia D’ambrosio
I think that its like with people, like Federal Donuts, fried chicken and donuts make people happy, and its a simple concept. Its definitely a smiley and fun place. We try to make people feel welcome. Its the kind of food thats definitely a treat and fun to eat. So were not so serious about how we do things, and we want Rooster Soup Company to be the same way, but we are serious about contributing to our community because were citizens of Philadelphia, we live here, and every day we walk by people, all of us do, who are really struggling. And you could buy someone a sandwich, which is like a kind thing to do, but it doesnt make like a real significant impact in their life or change anything. So I think this is a way for those of us who are lucky to work and have homes and families to do something for our fellow Philadelphians, who dont have those things. And we feel really obligated to do it because were in hospitality, its our job to offer hospitality. And I think people are like, yes, you know, I want to help my fellow Philadelphians, too, in a real way. So I think thats why people are excited about Rooster Soup and also like its going to be amazing. I dont know if you guys have had our food yet, but its pretty fun, and so were excited to be taking the concept and go wild.

Gregory Hansell
Thats great, thats great. Did you know when you first came up with the concept from the get-go that you wanted to have this tie-in with something like Broad Street or did that emerge later?

Michael Solomonov
I think it happened in sync, I mean I think that we were presented with sort of a chicken box scenario. Well, I believe Steve had gone to his first Board meeting at Broad Street, so it sort of, it happened very organically, and sort of naturally.

Gregory Hansell
So where are you now with the campaign? How far do you have to go?

Felicia D’ambrosio
We are at $130,000, and let me look at it update, update -- $130,870, so we are less than 20 grand away from our goal.

Gregory Hansell
So what are some of the things you guys are doing here to really try to rev up support here at the end?

Felicia D’ambrosio
Well, we are absolutely reaching out to every single person we reached out to in the first place. Like, hi, I know you wanted to do this, why dont you do it right this minute, because the funding period is almost over, theres only eight days left? We are doing a total social media blitz from every outlet we have access to and asking our friends to help us with that, and weve been asking our friends, our entire staff is wearing T-shirts that say ask me about Rooster Soup at like one, two, three, four seven restaurants, so theres a lot of onsite outreach thats going on. And, yes, and thanks to you guys, people like yourself and the press, weve had an opportunity to spread the word.

Michael Solomonov
One of our servers is running a race, actually, and hes getting money, hes contributing that way. I think people are sponsoring him to run this race, so hes been raising money.

Felicia D’ambrosio
Hes going to run the marathon.

Michael Solomonov
Yes, hes going to win, too.

Gregory Hansell
So will the chicken suit make an appearance, that was there in the video?

Michael Solomonov
Yes, the chicken suit will make an appearance if somebody goes skydiving with me, got to have the chicken suit picture taken.

Gregory Hansell
Thats right, now is he going to make laps around Philly trying to rev up support?

Michael Solomonov
In the chicken suit, I will, yes, absolutely, Ive been stretching, my calves feel really good, so Im ready for it.

Gregory Hansell
So when will the restaurant open if its funded?

Michael Solomonov
Thats sort of up in the air a little bit. Weve got a couple well, we cant, its very difficult to sort of pinpoint a location before we actually reach our goal, so well probably know shortly after, in a few months.

Gregory Hansell
You know exactly where it will be?

Michael Solomonov
No, not exactly, but weve got our eye on a couple pretty key places.

Gregory Hansell
Well, we have a little over a week before your campaign is over. What are you want to tell someone out there thats on the fence about funding Rooster Soup?

Michael Solomonov
Gosh, Felicia, what do you think?

Felicia D’ambrosio
Im so sorry, the phone was just ringing up here, would you repeat the question for me?

Gregory Hansell
No problem, at all. I was just saying you have a little over a week before your campaign is over. Youre really close, youve been doing really well, but obviously you still need some more people to make it happen. What do you want to tell somebody who is on the fence right now about funding Rooster Soup?

Felicia D’ambrosio
I think the first thing I would say is all of us spend money on things that dont matter every day because thats being a human. This is an opportunity to take some of your hard-earned money and spend it on something that matters so much that you cant even realize how much it will impact other people and will continue to work for many years beyond the $100 you give us today. So I would ask you to think about that and the fact that when you are lucky enough to have enough to eat and a choice in the matter and get to go find your favorite things and learn about new foods, theres many other people who just never experience that, and to be able to offer someone something thats both nutritious, appetizing, and served in a hospitable and caring manner means so much.

Gregory Hansell
Andy, what would you want to add to that?

Andy Greenhow
I would say that if the opportunity that is presented with the Rooster Soup Company is so often these intractable social problems make us all feel very powerless, and the opportunity that is presented with the Rooster Soup Company is to walk past that person who is lying on the sidewalk or walk past that person who is holding a cardboard sign, and to actually be able to do something. That these, that the challenges that we face in our City, do I give this person money or do I not give this person money, do I buy them lunch or do I not, or does that only make it worse or does that make it better, the opportunity that we have here with the Rooster Soup Company is that we know that investment in the Rooster Soup Company and investment that goes back into our social services, our meals and the community that we are building here, that is incontrovertibly positive and something that makes our City better. Thats why I think people should give.

Gregory Hansell
Absolutely. I was wondering how the people at Broad Street are involved in the campaign?

Andy Greenhow
Oh, man, were having fun with it. Were, Im spending a lot of time with it. Our Chef, Steve, who you heard about earlier, has just issued a challenge to the backers of the Rooster Soup Company. If we get funded by eleven-fifty-nine next Tuesday, the 22nd, I believe it is, he is going to get the Rooster Soup logo tattooed on his arm as part of his lead. So were in. We have got skin in the game, literally in the game with Chef Steve.

Gregory Hansell
Very cool. Well, you know, we have a question we like to ask of all our guests at the end of the show, and I want to give you each a chance to answer it. And in this case that question is whats your vision for how the Rooster Soup Company and the work being done at Broad Street Ministry can help make the world a better place? Michael?

Michael Solomonov
Oh, all right. Well, I mean I think that was sort of answered by Felicia and Andy prior, but I think that I always I think that dignity is really underrated and I think that when you walk down the street and give somebody in need a quarter or a dollar youre helping them out, you know, I think that its very different than giving them a napkin, asking them how their day is going, serving them food, treating them like theyre in your house. Giving them medical services, giving them a mailbox, and giving them really a reason to want to get better. So I just think that sort of in this environment that were in its like do your work, get home, you know, power through the day, and I think these interactions that you have every day with people really matter and theyre sort of undervalued right now. So I think that promoting that and I think giving the opportunity for people to get that and to be in a better position in life I think is the most important thing, and its our responsibility as humans. So responsibility is the way to go.

Gregory Hansell
Absolutely, absolutely. Felicia?

Felicia D’ambrosio
I mean a restaurant is a little community, so all of us who work in the food business have experienced that feeling of being in like a weird family, which I think is like really valuable, and I get the same feeling at Broad Street, that Im in a weird family, which makes me really happy. And I think theres a lot for me to learn as someone who is non-religious and does not subscribe to any particular faith to be around people who practice faith and act in the way that they say that you should, which is like to reach out your hand to your brother and share. So it really, it means a lot to me like personally, and I feel good about helping people, and now Im like addicted to fundraising from doing Kickstarter. Its really fun. So I feel like once you start doing this yourself you get like, you get really infected by it, and you cant stop caring. So once you get an opportunity to care I think a lot more people will, as well, and theyll see that they want to do this and buy soup and volunteer and do something real.

Gregory Hansell
Very cool. And, Andy, I just wanted to ask you last, you can kind of bring us home, whats your vision for how Rooster Soup Company and the work being done at the Ministry can help make the world a better place?

Andy Greenhow
My vision is, I said before, Philadelphia is the City of brotherly love and sisterly affection, and sometimes we really do that well, and other times we forget that. My vision for the Rooster Soup Company and for Broad Street Ministry and for Federal Donuts making the world a better place is I want people to go into Rooster Soup to have a delicious bowl of soup and then to sort of look at whats going on around them and to say like how on earth did this happen, like how did Broad Street Ministry and Federal Donuts decide that they were going to do this together, and then brought me into the equation to have a part, have a say in fixing the City and making it a better place. And then I want those people to go forth into the world empowered and inspired to do crazy things themselves. This is a crazy idea, and I believe it can lead to other crazy ideas, thats for me why its going to make the world a better place.

Raymond Hansell
Andy, this is Ray, we concur 100%. I mean you guys are doing really serious work here for the City of Brotherly Love, and what a great idea and what a crazy idea. Its a serious idea, but anybody that skydives in a chicken suit, right off the bat you know is overly serious.

Michael Solomonov
Yes, speaking of crazy family.

Raymond Hansell
Thats right, thats right. Before we go Id like to announce on behalf of the BetterWorldians community, right before we started this episode we donated $500 to the Kickstarter campaign to support the Rooster Soup Company.

Felicia D’ambrosio
Yes.

Michael Solomonov
Thank you.

Andy Greenhow
Thank you.

Felicia D’ambrosio
Thank you so much.

Raymond Hansell
Youre very welcome. And we encourage all our listeners to jump in and do likewise to help these guys cross the finish line. Theres only eight days left. They only need a little bit more money, lets get it done.

Andy Greenhow
Thank you, guys.

Raymond Hansell
You guys are very, very welcome. And you can find out more, by the way, about Kickstarter campaign, just go to Federal Donuts Dot Com or go to Kickstarter Dot Com and search Rooster Soup Company. Michael, Felicia, Andy, wed like to thank you for joining us today on BetterWorldians Radio, and we wish you all the best of luck with Rooster Soup.

Michael Solomonov
Thank you so much.

Felicia D’ambrosio
Thank you for having us.

Andy Greenhow
Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
As we end our show, Id just like to share our BetterWorldians mission. Here we strive to make the world a better place, as well, by encouraging the very best in everyone. We focus on positive thinking, positive values, and positive actions. In short, our vision is to bring out the BetterWorldian in everybody so that we can all make it A Better World. And today we witnessed exactly that in action with a bunch of crazy folks down in Philadelphia, who are doing amazing things. So please listen next week when well be talking with Ryan Hurl-jack about founding Ryans Well when he was only six years old. Ryan will talk about how his organization has provided clean water to over 800,000 people in the world. Wed like to thank everyone today for listening. You can join the BetterWorldian community at BetterWorldians Dot Com, and until next time, everybody, be a BetterWorldian.