According to my preliminary research, COVID-19 induced a deeper and more prolonged recession for lower-wage workers, immigrants, women, and people with lower educational status. To address this issue, I researched policies in the US that might help alleviate the situation and found the Assembly Bill No.626 that took effect in January 2019, which allows individuals in California to provide public food service with their home kitchen equipment. Given the precarious situation of these disadvantaged individuals and the positive impact of this policy’s extension across the US, I hope to implement this system in NYC, a place with soaring residential density and large unexploited needs.
With an eye on accessible technology, I proposed an app-based, post-pandemic business recovery plan called KitchenNextDoor (KND) to provide working opportunities to the underprivileged in NYC. The KND project advocates for a Neighborhood-based Micro Enterprise Home Kitchen Operation Society in an urban setting, allowing struggling individuals to start their restaurant businesses with minimal financial burden while boosting the dining industry, a vital economic pillar hit hard during the pandemic. Instead of worrying about exorbitant rent, prospective chefs can post their dishes on the app and cook food in their homes. KND also offers convenience to consumers in the food-ordering-and-pickup process: based on residential addresses, customers can place orders from chefs located in adjacent apartments. The KND hub, an insulated food storage locker installed in the common areas, allows customers to pick up their orders in the designated location without waiting for a stone-cold delivery trapped on the way for hours. This Direct-To-Customer foodservice model with a thermostatic food storage system and user-friendly interface will generate a positive societal impact by promoting low-cost, low-threshold business restarts, and help knit a stronger community by encouraging neighborhood interactions.