Feast of Merit is a social enterprise in the hospitality sector that is owned and operated by YGAP, a movement of impact entrepreneurs that work to change lives. All the profits generated by Feast of Merit go to YGAP’s impact arm, who finds, supports and grows impact entrepreneurs bringing people out of poverty in some of the world’s toughest communities. Feast of Merit celebrates the community and the slow food movement, championing social change and awareness. Feast of Merit’s food is contemporary Middle Eastern, with an emphasis on quality, accessibility and flavour. This is delivered through a farm-to-table philosophy, working closely with growers, producers and suppliers to bring seasonal, sustainable and ethical fare with a difference.
Feast of Merit
The purpose of the capital invested in Feast of Merit was to create a social enterprise in the hospitality sector that would generate profits. These profits are used to fund the social programs being undertaken by YGAP in South Africa, Kenya, Bangladesh, Tanzania and Australia.
Around $457,000 was initially invested in Feast of Merit and the business has generated cash profits of around $390,000 since it opened in March 2014. This cash has been used to stabilise the business, pay down commercial debt and fund YGAP’s impact. As at February 2016, approximately every $5 of profits made by Feast of Merit and used for YGAP’s impact significantly and measurably improves the life of a person living in poverty. Feast of Merit is a transferable concept and can easily be replicated in other locations around Australia and internationally.
The project to develop Feast of Merit was initiated around August 2013 with finance settling around January-February 2014 and the restaurant opening in March 2014. Feast of Merit is YGAP’s third social enterprise.
YGAP – YGAP and Spark* International officially merged on the 27th April 2015. YGAP is the parent brand to fundraise globally. The Spark* Accelerator program is the impact arm of YGAP that is used globally to support impact entrepreneurs.
YGAP describes itself as ‘entrepreneurs that change lives’. YGAP aims to:
- find and support impact entrepreneurs around the world who are improving the lives of those living in poverty; and make supporting these entrepreneurs accessible through innovative fundraising efforts and social enterprises (e.g. Feast of Merit).
Feast of Merit – social enterprise restaurant
- $130,000 – Foresters Community Finance, interest bearing loan (5 year term)
- $100,000 – Private investors, interest free loan (3 year term)
- $50,000 – Private investors, interest free loan (4 year term)
$177,000 – Intercompany loan, interest free loan
The idea for Feast of Merit came about as YGAP searched for an alternative fundraising stream to maximise its impact. Drawing on the team’s skills and following on the success of their previous social enterprise in hospitality, Kinfolk (May 2010 – March 2014), YGAP explored the concept for Feast of Merit. YGAP was offered a few locations but turned them down because the deal wasn’t quite right. They also wanted to treat any finance commercially, declining to sell ordinary shares and committing to develop the idea with capital. The premises at 117 Swan St, Richmond became available, and with the finance settling YGAP signed a lease for the premises with Feast of Merit commencing in March 2014.
Since commencing trading in 2014 and as at February 2016, Feast of Merit has been able to significantly and measurably change the lives of approximately 78,000 people living in poverty.
- Feast of Merit has generated cash profits of around $390,000 since it opened in March 2014.
- In FY16, Feast of Merit provided approximately $71,000 to YGAP for its Spark* Accelerator Program
- In previous years Feast of Merit has also made a major contribution to several of YGAP’s other fund raising initiatives, particularly the 5 Cent Campaign and Polished Man
- Feast of Merit started making monthly distributions of $2,500 to $5,000 to YGAP project outcomes from July 2015.
Investment in expansion opportunities.