Recovery-Based DV8 Kitchen Teaches Others How To Build A Business With A Social Purpose

By Victoria Kim 06/12/19
The owner of DV8, who is in recovery himself, is hoping to “change the way people think about hiring people that are in recovery.”
The staff at DV8 Kitchen in 2018
DV8 staff in 2018

At DV8 Kitchen—a restaurant and bakery in Lexington, Kentucky—recovery is the foundation. The entire staff at DV8 are in recovery and are supported by the business in every way. The unique enterprise has been featured on The Fix, the New York Times and more.

Schedules are flexible and work around the lives of staff members, allowing them to attend appointments and meetings without worrying about taking time off. The restaurant works in partnership with treatment centers, where most new employees are hired from.

Now, hoping to share its success, this week DV8 hosted Soulfull Enterprise, a two-day event (June 11-12) to teach others how to build a life-changing business.

The foundation of DV8’s success lies in providing quality food and service that’s above the competition, and giving employees the skills and support they need to thrive in the workplace. 

Those who attend Soulfull Enterprise will learn how to integrate social purpose in their business or organization, how to grow community impact, and, most notably, how to hire “second-chance” employees—or people who “may not have a reputation of successful employment.”

The owner of DV8, Rob Perez, who is in recovery himself, is hoping to “change the way people think about hiring people that are in recovery,” he told Public News Service.

Having a job gives people in early recovery a purpose, a routine and a community. “When you do a job with quality, you build self respect, self-esteem and pride in a craft you’re developing,” Perez told The Fix last year. “In recovery, we need a support system and an accountability system. And the camaraderie you get of out of a job when you have common interests, backgrounds and circumstances, is pretty powerful.”

DV8 is just one successful enterprise with a mission to help the recovery community. The Ohio Valley region has seen what can happen when people in recovery are provided the proper training and opportunities to work. In this region, they’ve seen success in farming and food service.

“The idea of the enterprise as a whole is that we want to be able to take a seed, put it in the ground, grow it, harvest it, process it, and get it out to the social enterprises, like the cafe, like the catering business, like the food truck, and create training opportunities and jobs along that entire continuum,” said Reginald E. Jones, CEO of the Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, one organization working under the Appalachian Food Enterprise (AFE).

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr