Kudos to you: Lunch Owl pivots from lunch deliveries to goody boxes for employees working at home

In 2014 Scott Himmel founded Lunch Owl, 5320 Stanard Ave., which delivers nutritious, energizing lunches to offices around Greater Cleveland, with the mantra “a company that eats together stays together.”


But most of his Lunch Owl customers can’t eat together right now because the coronavirus forced many offices to close.


So, to preserve that company bond,  Himmel came up with Kudo Box—a way for employers to show employee appreciation by sending boxes of locally-made goodies.


Kudo Box is a great way to connect with people (and support local small businesses) at a time when it’s not easy to connect in-person.Himmel talked to his customers and asked what he and his 15 employees could do to help.  


“The one common thread was everyone is more stressed than usual, they’re working harder, they’re home-schooling,” he says. “[The need] to eliminate the high level of stress was the common thread.”


Himmel says Kudo Box is a way for people to show support and say, “thank you.”


He recruited eight local makers to make their specialties—pumpkin spice cookies from Philomena Bake Shop, granola from Witzi’s Raw Granola, spice packs from Fire Spice Company, sourdough crackers from  Le Cracker, Firebird blend coffee from Phoenix Coffee, cold-brew coffee from Guardian Cold Brew, organic tea from Storehouse Tea, and dark chocolate cherry brownies from Luna Bakery and Café—to contribute their goodies to Kudo Box. The boxes come in three sizes and cost from $32 to $80.


Himmel says sales have been good with both the companies he serves through Lunch Owl and with individuals who are looking for a unique way to send a thoughtful gift to coworkers and loved ones.


He says sending a Kudo Box is simply a great way to connect with people­—and support local small businesses—at a time when it’s not easy to connect in-person.


“You can send a message of optimism,” he says. “Say, ‘we’re going to emerge stronger from this than we were going in.’”


In addition to delivering Kudo Boxes, Himmel says Lunch Owl will soon resume office lunch deliveries.


“Lunch Owl was doing fantastic prior to COVID-19,” he says. “We’re really proud of what we’ve built, and we’re dedicated to continuing delivery as soon as office life resumes.”


Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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