At Red Rabbit, A Former Wall Street Trader Tries To Make A Profit Selling Healthy School Lunches
Nov 30, 2016
Rhys Powell runs Red Rabbit, which produces nutritious kids’ food made from scratch. Based in Harlem, it serves 100,000 meals a week in 165 pre-schools, Head Start programs, private schools and charter schools in New York City and Westchester County. Now 37, Powell founded the company in 2005 after a stint on Wall Street trading equities. His first idea, selling nutritious kids’ meals to private school parents, hemorrhaged cash. A business-to-business model, selling to private schools, worked better. Then in 2011, an investor offered to put $500,000 into the company and Powell decided to change tacks. Instead of serving privileged private school students, he started selling low-cost, nutritious meals to public programs where he must keep his food costs under $3 per meal. The company employs 100 people and expects 2016 revenue of $10 million. In this interview, which has been edited and condensed, he talks about his early mistakes and the rewards of a career post-Wall Street.