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Helping to end hunger with pay-what-you-can community cafes

How to Start a Cafe

Congratulations on wanting to start a community cafe! We look forward to helping you in this wonderful endeavor to help alleviate hunger in your community and join the 30 cafes that are currently operating, as well the 30 others in the planning stages. While community cafes create more food security, they ultimately provide a venue for greater community dialogue. As people come together to address the problem of hunger, they also open doors for growth related to other community issues.

 

HOW WE CAN HELP

As you begin this journey of starting a community café, we have resources to help you along the way. Each café learned something new as they opened that can help others, so we have compiled a set of best practices and can answer questions via phone or email any time.

Spirit in Business Guide – This is the model on which the community café concept was built, beginning with Denise’s One World Café in Salt Lake City. It will get you started as a non-profit, pay-what-you-can operation under the OWEE Standards. Download

Mentoring and Personal Assistance – Our founder, Denise Cerreta, or a member of the OWEE board of directors will be glad to personally answer any questions you have and help provide additional resources and/or connections to existing cafés to answer your questions. You are also welcome to contact any of our existing cafés directly. Once you are ready to have a community meeting about your café idea, Denise or a board member can arrange to participate and assist as available.

Annual Summit – Nearly 100 people attend this event and represent all stages of development, from people just investigating our model of Community Cafés, to existing café operators.  The event features roundtable discussions, breakout sessions with experts, and tours of cafés in the host city and well-respected keynote speakers. NEXT SUMMIT: Jan. 17-19, 2015

 

MEMBERSHIP PLAN

There are three categories of membership in the OWEE network:  Full cafés, Affiliated cafés, and Individual members. Each has certain expectations and benefits. To join at any level, email us at community@oneworldeverybodyeats.org

FULL CAFÉS

As a member of the OWEE network, you will commit to working toward making all seven of these aspects a part of your café operations and values. We look forward to being your partner in this wonderful endeavor!
 
The annual fee for Full membership is on a pay-what-you-can basis. A suggested value is $200 per year, but please pay what you can.  Monthly payments are ok.
 
The 7 Core Aspects of a Community Café:
  • Pay-what-you-can pricing – Each customer sets their own price for their meal.  You may have suggested prices or price ranges.
  • Patrons choose own portion size –You can offer small, medium and large plates, mindful portion sizes, buffet or cafeteria style.  This helps eliminate food waste, curb overeating and supports your customer in adhering to their personal budget.
  • Healthy, seasonal foods – A commitment to providing local and organic where possible; sustainably grown, raised or caught.
  • Patrons can volunteer in exchange for a meal – This provides a “hand up, not a hand out” opportunity.  Be mindful that a properly trained volunteer can lead to future employment in the food service industry.
  • Volunteers are used to the greatest extent possible – This is an important key to building community and sustainability.  Volunteers can just be working for meals or because they want to support your efforts to curb hunger in your community.
  • Paid staff earns a living wage – This will vary by region, but $12 to $15 per hour is a guideline.
  • Community Table – Have a larger table where individuals and small groups can sit with others and make a larger group that can cross social, economic and other societal boundaries.

Benefits you will receive as a Full OWEE cafe member:

  • Mentoring for existing and for start-up cafés
  • A “get-started packet” with checklists, IRS and other business-related documents
  • Up to three registrations for the annual networking summit
  • Effective fundraising strategies
  • Hands-on support
  • Quarterly newsletter
  • Publicity as part of the OWEE network
  • Listing on the OWEE Google community café map
  • Priority access to grant monies earmarked for community cafés

Expectations for Full members:

  • Have interest in starting or maintaining a community café using the OWEE model
  • Associate with OWEE network by prominently displaying OWEE logo and other branding on brochures, signs, web pages, etc.
  • Be willing to network with other cafés and mentor others who might want to replicate the community café model
  • Commit to implementing as many of the seven core aspects of an OWEE community café over time as possible in your situation
  • Share your operating information (i.e. sales, meals, volunteer hours, recipes, etc.) with OWEE on a regular basis to facilitate gathering network statistics for grant data and sharing
  • Submit pay-what-you-can annual membership fee; suggested value is $200 but any amount is welcome
  • Participate in OWEE activities in October around World and National Food Days
  • Try to send at least two representative to our annual Summit

AFFILIATED CAFÉS

Not every café that opens is committed to follow all seven aspects of a Full OWEE network café.  A local team may not be able to use volunteers, or control portion size, or want a community table.  This does not disqualify you from being in the network. We want to maintain a relationship and be a partner with every community café that wants to be a part of our network.  These affiliated members receive access to all OWEE resources on an as available basis, receive one free registration to the annual Summit and are eligible to receive grants from OWEE. 

The annual fee for membership is on a pay-what-you-can basis. A suggested value is $100 per year, but please pay what you can.  Monthly payments are ok.

Expectations for Affiliated members of the OWEE Café network:

  • Have interest in starting or maintaining a community café using some aspects of the OWEE model
  • Commit to offering some form of the Pay-what-you-can model for at least one item on the menu daily, or a weekly or monthly meal
  • Associate with OWEE network by prominently displaying OWEE logo and other branding on brochures, signs, web pages, etc.
  • Be willing to network with other cafés and mentor others who might want to replicate your community café model
  • Commit to implementing at least two or more core aspects of an OWEE community café over time as possible in your situation
  • Share your operating information (i.e. sales, meals, volunteer hours, recipes, etc.) with OWEE as you can and want for grant data and sharing
  • Submit pay-what-you-can annual membership fee; suggested value is $100 but any amount is welcome
  • Participate in OWEE activities in October around World and National Food Days at your choice
  • Try to send at least one representative to our annual Summit

 Benefits you will receive as an Affiliated OWEE café member:

  • Mentoring for existing and start-up cafés on an as-available basis
  • A “get-started packet” with checklists, IRS and other business-related documents
  • One registration for the annual networking summit
  • Quarterly newsletter
  • Some publicity as part of the OWEE network
  • Listing on the OWEE Google community café map
  • Potential access to any grant monies earmarked for community cafés

 

INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS

An individual membership shows your support for the work of OWEE. It entitles you to one free registration for our Annual Summit; ongoing newsletters; access to generally available resources of OWEE at no charge; and possible access to future grants to support the exploration of an OWEE network café in your neighborhood.  Even if a Café you are associated with were a member of the OWEE network, an individual membership would show your personal support for the work OWEE is doing. 

The annual fee for membership is on a pay-what-you-can basis. A suggested value is $50 per year, but please pay what you can.