The Nonprofit Franchise Offers a ‘Reverse-Royalty’ Model Where Franchisees Earn by Organizing Meal-Packing Events
Benjamin Franklin advised Americans to do well by doing good, and the Meals of Hope Inc. franchise has taken that recommendation to heart. As a nonprofit organization with for-profit franchisees, it’s groundbreaking, says Jack Day, vice president of franchise development. “We are not aware of any other nonprofit that is offering franchises,” he says.
“Meals of Hope also is unusual because it doesn’t charge royalties. In fact, you could view our program as a ‘reverse-royalty.’ Our franchisees, called Packing Partners, earn money by finding host organizations like houses of worship, schools and businesses to provide the funds and volunteers to do a meal-packing event. Once scheduled, the Packing Partner pivots to event planning and acting as a conduit to Meals of Hope –which provides the ingredients and operational system to pack the meals, all the logistics, accounts payable, and so on – to ensure seamless execution. After the event, the food is donated to the local food pantry, and Meals of Hope invoices the host. Once Meals of Hope is paid, our corporate headquarters sends a commission payment to the Packing Partner.”
“With demand on food pantries continuing to grow post-Covid and with government pandemic benefits ended, Meals of Hope needed to find a way to expand the meal-packing operation nationally. Franchising proved to be our best option,” Day says. Meals of Hope buys frozen meats, fresh produce and packing supplies. It also takes food donations from supermarkets.
Based in Naples, Fla., Meals of Hope has only 64 territories. “This allows us to be choosy about our franchisees,” Day says. “We seek individuals who want to do good while earning a living. This is a unique franchise, so it takes an individual with a heart for this work, and it takes an individual willing to take the time to truly understand the model and the mission. We have resonated with people across the spectrum, from Gen Z through millennials to retirees.”
Ideally, franchisees will have sales experience and a great network for launching their businesses. “We recommend enrolling in Rotary, Kiwanis, and other business and civic organizations. A typical day for a franchisee will be spent following up with host organizations, cold-calling potential hosts and running meal-packing events.”
So if Meals of Hope franchisees are making money, are food programs’ clients being shortchanged? Day proudly says no. “We operate a very lean business, devoting 96% of ALL expenses to food programs in 2022. That leaves only 4% to cover general and administrative expenses and fundraising. Virtually everyone who works with Meals of Hope has either been employed in food service, by nonprofits, or has experienced hunger or food insecurity themselves.” Founded in 2007 and franchising since 2022, Meals of Hope has eight franchisees from New England to Oregon.
For more information about the Meals of Hope franchise, https://mealsofhopefranchise.com/.
Meals of Hope fights hunger in three ways:
- Facilitating meal-packing events across the U.S.
- Operating mobile food pantries in Florida’s Lee and Collier Counties. These feed 4,000 families per week and include a trailblazing Baby Pantry for the area’s most vulnerable citizens.
- Fills 10,000 backpacks each month with food for school students and their families for the weekends.
What Franchisees Say
“Companies love these events because they are natural team-building events, and people truly love having a TANGIBLE way to give back to their community.” – Lindsey and Steven Gillies, New England
“We packed 325,000 meals in Boston on 9/11 Day and had over 1,000 volunteers over two shifts helping at the Boston University Agganis Arena. Delta Airlines sent about 50 employees, and they were by far the most spirited team, dancing and singing in the aisles.” –Jenny Day and Justin Coppolino, New England
“Our best hosts are major sport steams. We’ve had two events with the Tennessee Titans, one with the Memphis Grizzlies and two with the WWE. That has been our biggest surprise.” – Aaron and Emily Cox, Tennessee
Food Insecurity in the U.S.
Meals of Hope proves that nonprofits can have a profitable model. The innovative franchise addresses the nation’s food insecurity problem. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 12.8 percent (17.0 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2022.
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