DC Central Kitchen: The Kitchen of the Future


DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) is a social enterprise that uses food, “job training, healthy food distribution, and local farm partnerships” as a solution for those suffering from poverty and addiction in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Most of DCCK’s employees comprised returning citizens as well as people recovering from addiction and/or homelessness. Turning to innovative ways of increasing revenue through earned income initiatives and creative solutions to secure resources, social enterprise has paved the way for DCCK’s growth over the past decade. In 2004, DCCK generated USD 600 thousand in revenue from USD 6 million total budgeting operations carried out by 48 people. In 2012, 140 employees generated roughly USD 6 million in revenue from USD 13 million total budgeting operations, with much of that revenue stemming from the culinary training and school meals programs. DCCK not only earned a surplus from these programs; more importantly, it demonstrated that inventive thinking, dedication, and a belief in people, could buck conventional wisdom and bring stability and hope to people who were typically thought of as being locked in cycles of destructive behavior or circumstances. This case invites students to draw conclusions surrounding this particular style of social enterprise to encourage discussion about an entrepreneurial orientation as well as market opportunities and strategy.

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