IAJBS 23rd Annual World Forum University of Namur, Namur, Belgium

Experience level: 
Dr. Sarah Cabral, Senior Lecturer in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College

Charging the Rich to Feed the Poor

In this paper, I will highlight two restaurants, Robin Hood in Madrid and Everytable in Los Angeles, that opened last year and which operate with an innovative and socially responsible business model; they charge the rich to feed the poor. Robin Hood has paying customers for breakfast and lunch, and this in turn allows the restaurant to provide free meals to the homeless for dinner. Everytable charges $8 for healthy, to-go meals in wealthy areas of Los Angeles but only $4 in Los Angeles’ poorer communities. Both restaurants have ties to Catholic priests; Robin Hood is run by 80-year-old Fr. Ángel García Rodriguez, and the entrepreneurs behind Everytable are partners with Fr. Greg Boyle, who founded Homeboy Industries. After describing the sustainable business model of the two restaurants, this paper will then analyze the fairness and rightness of such an approach. How can charging the rich to feed the poor be justified as an ethical action? After raising objections, I will ultimately argue that such a business model is ethical based on utility, moral duty, and Catholic social teaching.