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SAVE ON MEATS or how social entrepreneurship benefits local communities

6. Clients and consumers

Client and consumer relations


Save On Meats (SOM) is a restaurant, and a butcher's shop in Gastown, one of Vancouver’s suburbs. This 16-employees restaurant contributes to the economic development of the city but it also provides social and professional support to those in need – drug addicts, marginalized or homeless people. For those living in harsh conditions, the restaurant is really cheap and gives access to quality meals to anybody for a minimum of $2.25.


  •  Give anybody the chance to work and be trained
  •  Show that people can change (from drug addict to worker) 
  •  Show than maximising profits isn’t the only solution for a business to be sustainable 
  •  Give access to low price food


Mark Brand’s main objective is to have a positive impact in the local community where his company is located.

First of all, he took back a 43 year old business in a historical building of the city thanks to a partnership with Mr. Eric Carlson, CEO of “Anthem Properties”. He kept the authentic aspect of the location in order to avoid any animosity that local population could have demonstrated towards a new business.

Then Mark Brand made his business profitable, in particular by reducing fixed costs by only exploiting the first level of the building. Kitchen, Restaurant and Butchery are on the same level, allowing for a quick recycling of product ready to consume and coming from the Butchery to the restaurant.

The recruitment process is done locally by mainly hiring people with social difficulties. Partnerships with temporary work companies offer the possibility to ward off unexpected issues, specific to the life of every under qualified workers. Other “Responsible” partnerships (meat, utensils, equipment suppliers) allows this local company to remain financially afloat.

By offering job opportunities to people in need, Mark Brand gains their gratitude and their loyalty which benefits his company.

Director of several restaurants in Gastown, Mark Brand has developed the “Sandwich token program”. A token costs $2.25 and can be redeemed for a nutritious hot Breakfast Sandwich. People can choose to distribute them directly, or purchase the tokens and have Save on Meats give them to one of its dozens of community partners to share amongst their organization.

Best Practise spotted in 2014 by the World Forum for a responsible economy. 


  •  Nearly 500 meals distributed each day. 
  •  Partnerships with Atira association, PLEA, Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Vancouver Comunity College etc…
  •  Recruitment anticipation: from 16 to 18 employees inside the restaurant.
  •  Project’s worldwide recognition, presentation at TED Vancouver, attendance at World Forum at Lille,  numerous articles’ publication about SOM.


  •  Improved standard of living for employees who were in need
  •  Boosting self-confidence of employees.
  •  Raising local population awareness on social issues.


43 West Hasting Street


Mark BRAND (Directeur)

Mise à jour le 25/05/2016

Creative Commons Attribution This work by Réseau Alliances – World Forum Lille is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.