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Aberdeen welcomes catering with a conscience as Social Bite opens

Social Bite open fifth Scottish shop in Aberdeen with backing of the local business community

Published: September 21, 2015

Aberdeen’s business community, workers, and shoppers today welcomed the City’s first Social Bite shop, as the social enterprise opened the doors of its fifth Scottish outlet and pledged vital support to the local homeless community.

With support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the high profile sandwich shop chain which donates all profits to good causes, has expanded into Aberdeen with a new shop on Union Street.

Social Bite’s corporate catering arm will also be trading in the City and has already received its first orders from PwC, Pinsent Masons, Burness Paull, and energy services giant, Wood Group.

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn, who hit the headlines earlier this year by announcing that the charitable chain is to receive star-studded support in the form of a visit from George Clooney, said opening in Aberdeen was the next natural step in an expansion plan which aims to spread across the UK and further increase the social impact of the business.

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn (left) pictured with Rebecca Whitley and the first member of staff Alfie McShane (centre) who has made the transition from being homeless into full-time employment. Picture: Frame

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn (left) with Rebecca Whitley and Alfie McShane (centre) who has made the transition from being homeless into full-time employment. Picture: Frame

He said: “We’ve wanted to come to Aberdeen for a long time now as there’s a definite appetite in the City for a different kind of catering, somewhere with great food and awesome coffee, but where the customers can feel good that the money they spend supports those in need.

“We just needed funding to make our venture a reality and thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery we’ve been able to get up and running. We’ve had so much interest from the local community with people wanting to work in the shop and we’re finally ready to roll out the Social Bite concept in the Granite City.”

Social Bite menus are designed by Michelin Star chef, Mike Mathieson, and a quarter of its staff are formerly homeless. The business aims to compete with big name lunchtime regulars such as Pret a Manger and Greggs, while helping homeless and supporting good causes.

The innovative café operates a ‘suspended’ coffee and food programme whereby customers can pay for a hot drink or food for a homeless person.

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Social Bite’s corporate catering arm, which launched last year off the back of the success of the Glasgow and Edinburgh shops, generated over £600,000 of revenue in its first year alone making it one of Scotland’s most successful independent caterers.

The business’ entry to the Aberdeen market has already resulted in contracts from some of the City’s best-known companies requesting everything from business breakfasts to boardroom lunches.

Josh Littlejohn added: “We’ve been pushing against an open door with our catering division as Scottish businesses generally want to do good and this is a really easy way to make a difference by switching their catering to a charitable contractor. Most clients say that if we’re as good as their current provider it’s a no-brainer for them to use us, but our goal is always to be better.

“We’re very grateful for the early support shown by Wood Group, PwC, Pinsent Masons, and Burness Paull and look forward to working with many more of Aberdeen’s top firms.”

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Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, Clara Govier, said, “I’m delighted to see the fifth Social Bite shop open its doors in Aberdeen. Social Bite is a great success story and we are delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are able to play such an important role.”

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