Social Bite


Social Bite is a social enterprise café addressing homelessness in Scotland.


Key information

  • Focus area

    Social lending
  • Investment type

    Enterprise debt
  • Region

    United Kingdom
  • Investment amount

  • Challenge

    Homelessness has an overwhelmingly negative impact on the lives of those who experience it, physically, socially and psychologically. It affects people when they are most vulnerable - when relationships break down, a job is lost, mental health problems occur or people experience poverty and can’t make ends meet. It leads to exclusion and exploitation and is a devastating waste of human potential.

  • Approach

    Social Bite started as a sandwich shop that gave away all profits to good causes. It grew to employ 70 people, many of whom have struggle with homelessness, and now runs social enterprise cafes throughout Scotland as well as a delivery service. They created the world’s largest Sleep Out to raise money and awareness for homelessness and fund a ‘Housing First’ programme aimed at getting people off the streets and into a home of their own.

  • Revenue model

    Social Bite generates revenue through its social enterprise cafes.

  • Impact

    In 2018, Social Bite Academy had helped 32 homeless people find work and had supported 45 homeless people to volunteer. They distributed over 140,000 items of healthy free food via cafes each year and the Social Supper events connect 400 vulnerable people each week with food, support and opportunities.

    A social enterprise restaurant also provides a weekly sit-down meal for 40 people from the homeless community as well as training opportunities for their employees. In addition to this their fundraising activities have raised millions for various homelessness causes and charities.

Responding to COVID-19

  • COVID-19 lockdown has meant that footfall at the social enterprise cafes has come to an abrupt stop, affecting operations and impact, at a time when homeless people have become even more vulnerable.

  • Social Bite has re-purposed its entire business to deliver food and essential supplies to people in need. Through a small army of volunteers, they are aiming to deliver 6,000 food packs daily along with essentials such as hygiene products, toiletries and basic medicines. Currently they’re achieving this on each weekday, having delivered over 150,000 emergency fresh food packs to those in need.

  • We hit a crisis the moment the Prime Minister announced the public should stop going into cafes, restaurants and bars. We had to quickly reposition our whole purpose and what we were trying to do and within days our first deliveries of 600 food packs went out on March 20th. It’s definitely given our business and staff a renewed purpose.

    It’s amazing to see the scale of what they are doing and how incredibly motivated they all are.

    Josh Littlejohn

    Founder, Social Bite

Related investment

Social Growth Fund

Venture debt-fund investing in social enterprises and charities in Scotland

Learn more

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