FoodHub: Stakeholder Capitalism in Action

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foodhub food ordering system

FoodHub,  the online ordering company that has grown rapidly over the last few years, is an excellent example of a good corporate citizen and can be used as a role model of what stakeholder capitalism looks like in action.  The Stakeholder concept was first developed by Will Hutton in the 1990s and has been championed by Mckinsey’s as the right approach for this turbulent period. Mckinsey’s sum up the approach: “The principle of stakeholder capitalism requires business leaders to define their mission as creating long-term value not only for shareholders but also for customers, suppliers, employees, communities, and others”.

How can you spot a stakeholder company? Watch how they respond to a crisis that effects their community. In the UK currently the cost of living crisis is impacting all homes, especially low income ones. In response to the crisis, and very early on, in April 2022, FoodHub launched their charity initiative Love Local– a pledge from the company that local food-based charities will receive Foodhub vouchers once takeaways or restaurants on their platform hit a certain number of orders, enabling struggling families to be able to have a hot meal.

The first charity to benefit from this scheme was Affordable Food Stoke– a charity based in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, just a five minute drive from Foodhub’s head office. For CEO Ardian Mula, it was important that the scheme goes back to local roots, and helps a community similar to the one he grew up in. He said: “We were delighted to launch Love Local back in April to help as many local communities and people as we can. As a Stoke-on-Trent based business, it was vital to be the forefront of supporting our community when it matters the most, especially with the current climate we are facing Love Local aims to be a nationwide project, so that local communities across the nation can benefit from the scheme too, and Foodhub can continue to provide vital free meals to those in need through local charities.”

While launching their charity initiative, Foodhub developed a strong relationship with local radio station Signal 1, and featured radio ads announcing the partnership of Foodhub and Affordable Food Stoke. The station, owned by Bauer Media, had two upcoming weeks of fundraising throughout May and June 2022 for their network charity Cash for Kids, and were looking for sponsors. Adrian decided that £1 from every order throughout the duration of the fundraising weeks would be donated to the cause. Cash for Kids focuses on raising money for charities in local areas- an ecosystem similar to Foodhub’s own charity pledge. Foodhub exceeded the station’s expectations and managed to raise a £30,000 for the charity. The money raised will support children and young people who are affected by poverty, abuse and life limiting illnesses.

The response to the cost of living crisis built on a previous stakeholder approach that had worked for the company. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 the third sector faced a global crisis and it has been estimated that they lost £6.4 billion during the crisis. The challenge this posed to the corporate world was a clear one: what would they do in response. For some companies this meant changing in the face of the crisis, for others, like FoodHub it meant doing more of what they already did. With donations falling substantially for non-profit causes, Foodhub responded in very practical and doable ways, for example donating 10p from every order throughout the month of June 2020 to three charities – Make a Wish Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support and The Trussell Trust, all of whom have a special place in the hearts of Foodhub employees. £55,000 was raised for the organisations and was split between them to help grant sick children’s wishes, provide essential equipment, and give them a head start in being able to fundraise again. Supporting not only local restaurants and takeaway businesses, but local communities too is paramount for the ever growing food ordering app and reflects their definition of who their stakeholders are.

The stakeholder principles of a company like Foodhub extend out from head office. Foodhub has another main office in Chennai, India, which caters for over 600 employees. Helping those in need is vital to the staff, which is why they have partnered with The Shelter Trust- a haven for children who suffer with HIV. Employees regularly visit the facility, and provide donations and toys that the children can play with, to help them feel like a child again, while battling the life threatening virus.

There are many companies that have had to change their values in response to the multiple crises of the last decade. But the resilient stakeholder companies are those that had to adapt their existing practices and values to the needs to the communities in which they operate. Foodhub is a good example of that kind of company.

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