Open Kitchen


Open Kitchen is a sustainable catering company and café which uses all profits to subsidise community operations, supporting people living with food insecurity.


Key information

  • Focus area

    Social lending
  • Investment type

    Enterprise debt
  • Region

    North West
  • Challenge

    Food waste is the third biggest producer of carbon emissions on the planet after the USA and China. It is estimated that around 15 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK each year.

    Soaring energy costs and supply chain disruption have resulted food costs rising 25% in the past two years alone, meaning many people are unable to afford essential groceries.[1] As this article is written (August 2023) approximately 17% of the UK population are experiencing food insecurity.

  • Approach

    Open Kitchen diverts food waste and turns it into bespoke catering menus for meetings and events – plus nutritious meals to be sold from its vibrant café based at the People’s History Museum in the Centre of Manchester. Open Kitchen also buys ingredients, which it does only from local, independent, seasonal and sustainable producers.

    Profits go into providing food and supplying meals for people struggling with food insecurity across Greater Manchester.

  • Revenue Model

    Open Kitchen generates income from its café, catering and events.

    Open Kitchen has received social investment at several stages of its journey, including from the Growth Fund managed by Access – the Foundation for social investment and Flexible Finance Fund managed by Key Fund, to allow it to grow and expand its offering for customers and people experiencing food poverty.

  • Impact

    For every tonne of food waste that Open Kitchen stops from going to waste, it stops 4.2 tonnes of CO2e from being emitted, in turn helping to lower Greater Manchester’s carbon footprint.

    All Open Kitchen profits (and some grant funded projects) go towards its community focused work. It provides meals, grocery parcels and other basic supplies.

  • There’s not a mainstream bank in this country that would have supported us as a small independent food and drink venture during the tricky economic climate of 2021 – so our cafe simply wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Key Fund and its investors.

    Corin Bell

    Executive Director