Audible launches NWK Delivers to grow local restaurant jobs in Newark

Newark-based Audible on Monday announced the launch of NWK Delivers, a meal delivery app for its nationally recognized COVID-19 crisis response Newark Working Kitchens.

The application marks the next iteration of NWK, which Audible launched in April 2020. Since then, NWK has served nearly 1.5 million meals to over 10,000 residents and sustained 37 area restaurants. Audible said the app is a next step as the company shifts its focus from disaster relief to a sustainable long-term solution for the city.

Audible hopes sustain and grow area restaurants, while offering an array of food choices to corporate employees and maintaining a critical meal match component for Newark’s most vulnerable residents.

Aisha Glover. (File photo)

“For more than two years, Newark Working Kitchens has supported Newark’s restaurant economy through unprecedented hardships, and I encourage Newark’s corporate anchors to join our efforts and offer NWK Delivers to their employees,” Aisha Glover, vice president of urban innovation at Audible, stated.

In June, Audible began a pilot of the program’s new app, powered by Sharebite. For every meal order placed, Audible donates an additional meal to Newark residents in need via a targeted delivery model, in collaboration with community organizations.

Sharebite will also make a charitable contribution to address food insecurity within Newark for every meal ordered via the NWKD app. Audible’s 1:1 meal match, along with Sharebite’s contributions, will continue to preserve and create hundreds of jobs for cooks, servers and delivery people.

Through the app, employees are able to order lunch from more than a dozen NWK restaurants, and it includes a company-provided stipend to encourage engagement.

A contactless and turnkey offering, NWKD aims to expand to other Newark-based corporations to increase investment in Newark’s restaurant economy.

“To ensure the survival of the local restaurant economy, ongoing support is needed from large local employers, focusing their investment capacities beyond philanthropy, to avoid a worsening and perpetual crisis. The private sector needs to do its part,” Glover added.

“Audible’s continued commitment to Newark and its innovative programs like NWK Delivers will boost spending in our local restaurants while providing meals to those who need them most. I encourage companies across the city to sign up and offer their employees NWKD to help accelerate our comeback from the pandemic,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka.

Restaurant owners hailed the program as a financial lifeline in uncertain times. Kai Campbell, owner of the Walla, said: “Restaurants are the soul of our community. The evolution of this amazing program will allow Newark’s close-knit community of restaurants to come back stronger at a time when independent restaurants nationwide are searching for a path forward.”

Currently, participating restaurants include:

  • 9 Thai Cuisine (Thai)
  • Bulgogi Zip (Korean BBQ)
  • French Fry Heaven (American)
  • Fresh Coast (poke and healthy bowls)
  • Green Chicpea (Middle Eastern, Kosher)
  • La Cocina (Cuban American)
  • Marcus B&P (New American)
  • McGovern’s Tavern (pub)
  • Sihana Café (American)
  • Andros Diner (diner)
  • Casa d’Paco (Spanish)
  • Pita Square (Middle Eastern, Halal)
  • Robert’s Pizzeria (Italian, pizza)
  • Sigri Indian BBQ (Indian)
  • The Walla (Indian fusion)
  • Uncle Willie’s Wings (wings and things)
  • Vonda’s Kitchen (soul food)