A Balancing Act: Hans Hess’ Dilemma Whether Or Not To Serve Sodas (Video)

Video / Produced by partner of TOW

Hans Hess describes a dilemma he faced as CEO of Elevation Burgers. The narrative arc of the Bible - Creation, Fall and Redemption - helped this entrepreneur come to a decision.


How can you honor God by working in the creation in a way that makes a difference in peoples’ lives? In terms of participating in that narrative arc of the Bible that starts with creation and then has a fall but then ultimately ends in Redemption? How can you participate in that narrative arc? Those were the kinds of things that I started thinking about after I realized I didn’t have to be a missionary to be of service to God. Like I said, it was completely liberating for me. It was what allowed me to get to the point where a burger restaurant sounded like a really good idea.

One thing that was a very difficult choice for me was: at one point after I had started the restaurant I really didn’t want to use high fructose corn syrup sodas. Now, I had already kind of solved the problem by created a reach-in refrigerator that had alternative drinks. But I still had this soda fountain that was just pumping out high fructose corn syrup. And without profitability I’m not going to be able to serve people organic grass-fed burgers. Because you have to subsidize to a certain extent from the soda machine. You have to subsidize the cost of the beef.

So, it was a decision where I said: I would rather have somebody come to my restaurant and eat the grass-fed organic hamburger and have that soda. That’s better than them going to a competitor and having that soda plus a commodity animal that was sick when they slaughtered it.

I had this balancing act I had to do between recognizing that the world I live in is not perfect, but also taking steps toward what was good and what would be right in God’s sight as I read it.

Watch the full film Elevation from the Faith & Co. film series from Seattle Pacific University.

This video serves as an illustration to the TOW Bible Commentary article Working as Citizens of God's Kingdom (Matthew 1-4).