I'm Ben Gruber

2013 / 3 June

Meal Driven: My Second Food Challenge

About a year ago, I decided to spice up my life a little. I wanted to give myself a challenge to prove that I could do something really tough if I put my mind to it. So a friend of mine and myself set out to prove we could eat exclusively Chipotle Mexican Grill for 30 straight days. I will cut some of the gory details short here but the long and short of it is that we ended up successfully completing the challenge and gathered a pretty big following in the mean while. At one point Chipotle actually posted our blog on their Facebook page, which gave us quite the surge of traffic. Here is the blog (www.the-guac-is-extra.com) and a 5 minute video recapping the 30 days if you want to check it out.

When we completed that challenge, we had no real agenda in mind. We just wanted to document this crazy idea we had and a following just appeared. Well, we are now rolling out a new challenge – MealDriven – and this challenge has a cause attached to it. Meal Driven is a 30 meal food truck challenge, where we can only eat food from Food Trucks for 30 straight meals (read more of the rules here).

The object of Meal Driven is to raise awareness around a concept I have created called the Walk for Entrepreneurs. The Walk for Entrepreneurs* idea is basically a combination of KickStarter and cause related walks. On October 5th, I have arrange for a set of vetted social business to walk a two mile stretch along the East River in Manhattan to raise awareness and capital for their businesses. Similar to other cause walks, each business will have a pledge page where friends, family and the community will ‘donate’ capital to the social business for completing the walk. The idea is for the social business to raise money for a particular sustainable element of their business such as hiring a new worker or getting a larger run order on a product. People giving to the business are both donating to the cause that the social business represents and the longevity of the business which will continue to help the cause long after the donation funds run out.

The hope is to begin with New York City and move the crawl from city to city using a fun challenge to get the word out to Entrepreneurs and the community a like. I have already had a good response from people I have talked to, so I am hoping that this turns out well. It would feel really good if the business that I ended up start was one that could help other businesses help other people in a sustainable fashion. There is a long road head for this to work out, so I will report the good and the bad of the journey as I go.

*The idea for the walk came to me when I was thinking about why cause related walks work so well. There is the obvious point that an organized group of people doing something together is more powerful that individuals on their own – for credibility and for awareness. I also noticed though that one of the main reasons those walks are so successful in raising money is because it allows the walkers to ask their friends family and community for money without feeling bad about having a hand out. I wanted to take this concept to small business (especially social ones), because I thought it was tough to ask your circle for money for a business you have even when it is aimed at helping others. By creating the walk platform for social businesses, I could take the stigma out of asking for money, while at the same time giving them the awareness and credibilty that come with an organized group gathering. Wins all around.



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