Episode 6: Social Impact, The Town Kitchen with Eric Quick and Jefferson Sevilla

Today's guests: Eric Quick, CEO, and Jefferson Sevilla, Co-founder, The Town Kitchen

In this episode, we get a chance to speak with the executive team at The Town Kitchen, Jefferson Sevilla (Co-founder) and Eric Quick (CEO). A fantastic discussion to learn more about The Town Kitchen as well the social impact of software.

In this episode, we get a chance to speak with the executive team at The Town Kitchen, Jefferson Sevilla (Co-founder) and Eric Quick (CEO). A fantastic discussion to learn more about The Town Kitchen as well the social impact of software, which is not widely discussed.

The Town Kitchen delivers lunch in the SF Bay Area and provides jobs for local youth. They have a powerful mission as a company to make a social impact. The food is downright delicious. Get lunch delivered and make a social impact. Do it for the kids.


Fahad Shoukat

Show Notes

Incredible software development and its effects; particularly the social impacts of software.

An Introduction to The Town Kitchen (1:33)

1:33- Intros

  • Jefferson's a restaurant industry veteran. Worked at Google.
  • Food is a central gathering place for people and conversation and community.
  • Skews towards serving non-profits but looking to grow into more tech companies given the social element of The Town Kitchen mission.

Facing Issues and Challenges (7:45)

7:45- Barriers to adoption?

  • Competitive markets for food, for sure - that's a given.
  • Budget or funding can get in the way.
  • Desire for other types of food.
  • Sometimes the issue is bandwidth for service from The Town Kitchen.
  • Focus and organizational discipline. Chasing profitable revenue. The social impact actually comes from making money.
  • Strengths are repeat business and consistent customers.
  • And mission-buy-in from customers who end up looking more like partners.

Software and Food (12:08)

12:08- How The Town Kitchen Uses Software

  • At first, relied on tools like Google Suite to provide low-cost tools for the business.
  • Now instituting new systems that will help order-to-fulfillment processes get better.
  • Food waste is a big topic, especially for The Town Kitchen. Reducing it is critical.
  • Lots of hidden costs in the business.
  • Need software to be smarter about doing business in all areas.
  • Atypical financial metrics that The Town Kitchen reports to the board make software even more necessary. Putting metrics around social impact is tough.
  • The Town Kitchen publishes and impact report every year like many 501c3 orgs even though they're for-profit. And that takes a ton of time...so much lost productivity.

The Needs for Software in Non-Profits (19:25)

19:25- Software is expensive but necessary

  • Non-profits are under-served by software industry.
  • Need to think about the impact of ROI and Social Return on Investment (SROI).
  • Millennial and Gen Z moving up into leadership roles in organizations (non and for-profits alike) will help a ton.

Impacting Upcoming Generations (22:56)

22:56- Casting a vision for career paths

  • The Town Kitchen is very focused on ensuring that their people get access to training and opportunity; casting that vision for what they can become as they learn and grow.
  • Youth usually don't have a sense of direction - to start with food, it's an easy starting point.
  • Then moving on to soft skills and growth in personal responsibility.
  • Can then move to tech teams, sales, or other directions still within The Town Kitchen organization.
  • A lot of youth come to The Town Kitchen to refuge, to destress, and get stable.

Becoming and Agent of Change (30:08)

30:08- How can a company like Skiplist or other software companies get started?

  • We are all stewards of our communities.
  • Social impact organizations need outside viewpoints to help them get their thinking out of the daily/weekly execution and onto thinking about how they can get better as a company.
  • Software that measures social impact, tracks numbers, and assists in the impact reporting processes.
  • All leaders in the space (social impact orgs) struggle with this.

The Next Generation (32:30)

32:30- What about the next generation of software developers?

  • Soft skills are definitely important.
  • We need diversity and need to create a path from underserved neighborhoods/neighbors to tech and great careers.
  • Need to create environments where people can explore and find ways to do their best work.
  • This can mean looking at the rules as more like guidelines. Thinking outside of society's box.
  • Tech/automation-caused displacement is a real risk for the future, especially for underserved communities.
  • Leveraging the naturally-occurring hustle spirit into good and into great careers and rewarding work.
  • Checkr is on a mission to exactly this. We need more.

Jefferson Sevilla (Founder/Executive Chef) is a former Executive Sous Chef (7 years) at Google’s San Francisco campus. At Google, Jefferson managed a department of 55 in executing daily breakfast and lunch operations to 2500 Googlers. Jefferson transitioned from Google to become Executive Chef at SpoonRocket and most recently, Founding Culinary Director at the Youth Food Project, a non-profit collaborative which educates and employs re-entry youth. Jefferson is also an Advisor for Mamacitas Cafe, a women-owned and operated, mission-driven business in Oakland.

Eric Quick (CEO) has over twenty-five years experience in operations management in the industries of foodservice, retail, e-commerce, and fresh food manufacturing. Eric has held senior leadership positions with start-up ventures and notable companies including McDonald’s, Disney, Safeway, and Revolution Foods. Eric has a passion for recruiting and developing high caliber emotionally intelligent teams who successfully tackle hyper-growth business opportunities. His track record demonstrates his ability to grow big ideas from inception to multi-year growth opportunities in the foodservice, retail, and food technology segments.

Build Thoughtful Software
Fahad Shoukat
Written by

Fahad Shoukat

Fahad has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an MBA. He brings over 15+ years in Business Development, Strategy, Sales, Product, and Marketing in various industries such as software development and Internet of Things (IoT). His experiences have led him on an unwavering pursuit to meet thoughtful people and build thoughtful software.