Eat Offbeat makes it possible for refugees in New York City to find meaningful employment.

Try as she might, Eat Offbeat founder, Manal, could not find authentic hummus in New York City. Then, she and her brother, Wissam, realized that the best people to make authentic ethnic dishes are the people who are cooking those dishes at home every day. Having moved to the States from Lebanon, they were intimately familiar with the refugee crisis, so they decided to find home cooks who were refugees, and began training them to become professional chefs--making hummus and more.

Briefing / Learn how Eat Offbeat filled a market and employment gap.

Define the Problem

Desire for Hummus & market opportunity

Design Impact

Match refugee chefs with catering company that distributes ethnic foods

Build

Partner with the IRC, find, hire and train team, start distribution.

Scale

Grow in New York first, expand to other cities down the line

“I didn't conceive of myself as an entrepreneur. I didn't have in mind to start a business or to launch something like that, especially not a food business.”

Manal Kahi, Founder

Read Manal's full story here

Tool / Use the Evaluating Alliances tool to assess the value of a potential partnership, just like Eat Offbeat did.

We'll email you Eat Offbeat's completed Evaluating Alliances framework as well as a PDF lesson and template so you can use it to build out your own projects.


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Advice / Manal & Wissam's tips for those who want to make an impact.

  • Must Have Tools

    • Project Management: Trello
      Orders: Airtable
      Finance: Quickbooks
      Systems & Data Analysis: G-Suite, specifically Google Sheets
      Triggering ordering systems to talk to each other/workflow: Zapier
      Team communications: Whatsapp
      Management notes: Evernote
      Brainstorming: Mandmaps
      Deliveries: Uber for Business
      Data presentation: Tableau
      Customer surveys: SurveyMonkey
  • Best Advice

    Be open to anything that comes along.
    There’s so much that we see every single day and opportunities that we sometimes don’t grab because we think it’s not important, and usually the best ideas come out of these things. Sometimes it’s challenges. Be open...but don’t say yes to everything. Sometimes it’s more about what you say no to than what you say yes to. There’s no way you can do everything. You have to be open, but you also have to be selective. - Manal

    Make sure the financing works.
    You can have wonderful ideas, but if you can’t find a way to bring some financing to it -- whether it’s for-profit or nonprofit -- there probably is a reason. If people are excited about it, then there should be a way to figure it out. Even if pure profit isn’t your main goal, you want it to be sustainable. - Wissam

    Be very careful who you partner with.
    Take your time to get to know people very very well before you partner with them, and I think it’s healthy if you can afford to pay regularly people that you work with before you propose equity or partnerships. You have to know people extremely well before you partner with them. - Wissam

  • Educate Yourself

    The first step in taking action around any issue is to inform yourself. Here are some resources you can use.

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  • Get Involved

    1. Order a meal
    2. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram , and Twitter
    3. Spread the word about Eat Offbeat’s work

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