Social Bite

Good Food for a Good Cause

Monday 6 June 2016, by Social Bite

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A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

Social Bite is a company located in the United Kingdom, which consider itself as a Social Business. In their own website they say that founders were inspired by the philosophy of the Nobel Peace Prize winning economist Muhammad Yunus.

Mr. Yunus describes the idea of ‘Social Business’ in his book, were he explains that he was creating businesses, but not for traditional profit maximization, but for solving social challenges.
In 2011, the founders, Josh and Alice, went to Bangladesh to see Social Businesses created by Yunus and inspired them to create Social Bite in the UK.

The company is based in a food chain offering freshly prepared food made with local products. The menu is created by Michelin star chef Mike Mathieson, and thus, offering outstanding quality competitively priced.
Also 1 in 4 of their employees are formerly homeless and 100% of their profits go to fund charity projects.

Moreover, Social Bite offers what they call ‘Suspended Coffee and Food’ which means that their customers can pay in advance any item from their menu, so local homeless people can come into the shop to claim it.
Nowadays, Social Bite has 5 shops based in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, with plans to expand to Dundee.

The statement of Social Bite says that no matter how big Social Bite grows, no individual will ever get rich from the business, After staff are paid and costs are covered every penny of profit is put towards tackling social problems here and abroad.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

Social Bite expresses its ethical challenges through three different channels:

The first main aspect it’s to feed homeless people every day in their locals. The two mechanisms they use to achieve that are the “suspended coffee and food” which we have already mentioned in question A, and through the “social suppers”. The social suppers take place in the evenings were some homeless people are invited to dinner on the establishments, receiving support and help to pass through their situations.

Another ethical activity that the company carries on is to spend part of their profits in external charity support. Most of the charity locals they invest in are related with homelessness and social reintegration. Anyway, they also collaborate with some international projects: like helping the refugees or lending money to women in Malawi.

The third and final ethical project is the creation of an academy called “Social Bite Academy”. This consists in an academy to help take homeless people out of the streets by offering them support in several activities such as finding full-time jobs, accommodation, provide them training or help them find rehab programs. Their goal is to help at least 10 people off the streets each year.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

This company describes business in a different way. For them business do not go towards the traditional idea of making money but to the purpose of solving social challenges. They believe that business is so much more than making profits, for example maximizing other people well being.

A truly ethical company will never damage the environment, exploiting workforce by paying low wages, using harm products (The Guardian, 2001). Following this definition Social Bite is an ethical company. Moreover they have some added value which is the contribution of the well being of the whole society. We trust it because they don’t want to become rich with this business; they have another kind of goal. Of course your trust in something can be betrayed and to be sure about their activities we will have to audit their headquarters, nevertheless we should trust first.

We feel pain when seeing a homeless in the street but we don’t know how to deal with it. Once you start sleeping in the street it is difficult to go back. This company is giving a second chance to this people who don’t know how to fit with society. Yet by feeding them or by providing them a job and a psychological treatment. An indicator of the level of well being of a society is the number of homeless people among the whole population. “Best” societies don’t have homeless people that mean that everybody fits more or less. We think that this company is so inspiring and different regarding goals, strategies and methodology that you only can trust it. Its founders used to have another company before and they decided to sell it to build this one more social. They don’t want to become rich; they just want to serve the others because they knew they are lucky people who have tools. They want to use their tools helping other people to have their own tools to live in this kind of systems. The founders are becoming very happy by doing this task and it is enough for them. We believe this company is one of the most ethical companies we have ever known of and we completely trust it. No one is forcing the owners to give profit to charity and they do it anyway. It is legal to keep the whole profit of a company. If they didn’t want to they wouldn’t behave in a social-sharing way.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

The company is clear about their ambition to grow in the near future. They want to expand their business along Scotland and also all around the UK. But as the company grows bigger they’ll have to have special care about their main statement, which assures that every penny of profit the company makes goes towards tacking social problems. In order not to lose their essence they will have to keep on being as transparent as they are now.

They also have to be realistic about how much they can do to help. Especially regarding giving jobs to homeless people, as some of them may be struggling with addiction at the moment and that may cause problems to the company. We think it is amazing they give a second chance to people who have lost everything but they have to be down-to-earth and understand that not everybody may be ready for it.

We think it is great that besides wanting to be a social business they also understand that this is not enough and that they have to offer an excellent service and products in order to be able to compete with other big companies such as Starbucks or Pret A Manger.

They will also have to manage the balance between their costumers and the homeless people that attend the café in order to make the environment likeable to everyone.

We think a way to improve for Social Bite would be to think about specific products and packaging that are easy for homeless people to carry and storage. And also, since they sell so many packed products to try to contaminate as little as possible.

Bibliography

http://social-bite.co.uk/
http://www.edinburghspotlight.com/2015/01/social-bite-helping-the-homeless-in-scotland/
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/25/homeless-edinburgh-work-jobs-poverty-employment-greggs-pret

Location: Edinburgh (United Kingdom)

Sector: Wholesale and retail trade

Official website: http://social-bite.co.uk/

Nbr. visits: 542