Loyalty card to help Scots homeless

Three homeless collegues who work in the kitchen.'' Picture: Lesley Martin
Three homeless collegues who work in the kitchen.'' Picture: Lesley Martin
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A not-for-profit sandwich shop chain has launched what is thought to be the first “selfless” loyalty card which lets customers feed the homeless.

Customers at Social Bite can now save up loyalty points and buy a homeless person a free meal and hot drink after ten visits to the cafe.

Josh Littlejohn. Picture Lesley Martin

Josh Littlejohn. Picture Lesley Martin

After five visits to the chain, customers will also get a half-price coffee or lunch for themselves.

The social enterprise sandwich and coffee shop chain previously gave out more traditional loyalty cards where after five visits customers would get a free coffee and after ten a half-price lunch.

The company decided to reinvent the loyalty card when regulars started to refuse their rewards and ask for the food and drink to be donated to the homeless.

Founder Josh Littlejohn said: “We had a lot of customers wondering if they could give their free coffees and discounted lunches to the homeless instead of keeping them for themselves.

“We’ve realised there is a real culture of people wanting to help people less fortunate than themselves - and if they can do that in their daily routines it’s a real bonus.

“This is the next step in making sure no homeless people go hungry and we hope other businesses will follow suit.”

Social Bite operates a “suspended” coffee and food programme where customers can pay for a hot drink or food for a homeless person.

The business gives 100 per cent of profits to charities including Shelter Scotland, Vision Eye Care Hospital in Bangladesh, the MicroLoan Foundation in Malawi and Zambia, and the STV Appeal.

Social Bite currently has cafes in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. A quarter of its workforce is formerly homeless.

Customers also have the chance to win dinner with Hollywood star and humanitarian George Clooney who visits the Edinburgh shop in November.