Unearthed Cafe will be a small cafe strategically located in the Wellington-Hintonburg community of Ottawa. This business model aims to “rescue” the reduced priced items from grocery stores and turn them into fresh, healthy, and affordable meals. To make the meal options affordable for everyone, a portion of the menu (approximately 40%) is priced on a pay-as-you-can scale. The other portion, including a full selection of coffee and tea sourced from Equator Coffee Roasters and other products from local retailers, will be priced at a full retail value.
Customers will be encouraged to pay it forward by suspending coffees or other menu items, which can be ordered by those who cannot afford to purchase the item themselves. By utilizing this pricing model, people from all walks of life will be able to eat in a warm and welcoming environment. The primary strategy of this social enterprise will be to reduce food waste, feed those who are food insecure, and increase community involvement.
Unearthed Cafe will be a space to start a conversation, spark social change, and make an impact in the community. The vision of this social enterprise is to turn strangers into neighbors, by actively addressing food waste and food insecurity in Ottawa communities. 40% of the food that is produced in Canada is wasted by either the consumer or throughout the distribution chain. yet, approximately 110,000 individuals in Ottawa live below the poverty line. Why not have these two social and environmental issues work to solve each other?
My first goal for this summer is to launch my MVP (minimum viable plan/product) which will be a pop-up dinner in the middle of the street that will serve approximately 20-30 guests from various walks of life. A few seats will be left open for intrigued passersby. The first dinner will be a dry run to work out logistics and any health and safety issues that will occur. The following dinners will measure the social impact, and gain valuable customer feedback about their overall experience. This testing will be conducted over the course of a year with approximately 12 dinners. The goal will be to create a model that will be sustainable, cover costs and make a small profit which will be reinvested into the business. Overall, I estimate in 5 years or less there will be enough buzz and time for capital investment to launch a physical location. The goal is to measure how many pounds of food are rescued, how many meals are served, and the social impact with in the community. I plan to publish an annual report which will serve as milestones and to set new goals to reach.