Do The Pivot

In the Johnson Center’s Report “11 Trends for Philanthropy in 2020” they list Corporate Social Responsibility as number 10. Here’s an inspiring story of reinvention that includes two business owners pivoting to launch a corporate philanthropy program.

Meet restaurant owners Lee and Bryna of LB Kitchen in Portland, Maine. L&B went through an incredible transition from two thriving restaurant locations, to shuttering their business completely, to opening one location doing curbside pickup, to launching two new businesses from home.

The Initial Shutdown: After talking to fellow restaurant owners and deciding to close their doors, Lee said, “I lost it, and just started crying. My biggest fear was: if we stay open, I could walk through my house and make my mom sick and kill my mom. I freaked the F out. After that day, we realized we had to close.”

The Pivot to Philanthropy: Suddenly, LB Kitchen began a radical pivot. Observing it from a distance was stunning. From stopping operations, they launched two new faces of LB Kitchen.

The first was a philanthropic arm of LB Kitchen. LB Kitchen now takes donations to prepare and deliver super delicious and healthy meals to feed frontline workers at Maine Medical Center. In the first month, LB Kitchen raised $13,000 to deliver FREE meals to healthcare workers at Maine Med. The thinking was:  “How can we create another revenue stream? How do we keep our staff busy if takeout is slow? How do we find purpose?”

In 2017, Lee and Bryna’s young son Hudson spent two weeks in the NICU at Maine Med and they had always wanted to pay it forward. Bryna says, “I had no idea how it would go…we didn’t expect to raise half of what we’ve raised $13,000 in a month.”

The Pivot to New Services: The second reinvention was launching LB X Home. Lee and Bryna began to market their normal brunches as brunch boxes that you can order for delivery.

“LB Home was stewing in our minds. It was a petri dish concept, not formed enough to launch it. Then we did it, because that was the only option. In a way, the business model was easy to flip because we’re already set up to do delivery and takeout. We’ve transitioned our space which was service and seats to mostly production.”

From fear and uncertainty to a new business model including the creation of philanthropic arm, pivots are possible! Perhaps we can’t do business as usual, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do business.


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