By Kristy Dorsey

A Scottish company that creates and runs cafes within corporate offices has linked up with Social Bite as it prepares to re-emerge from more than a year in lockdown.

Previously known as Business Coffee Solutions, the firm is now trading as the Good Coffee Company following an extensive re-branding undertaken during the depths of the pandemic. This includes the tie-up with Social Bite, the independent Scottish sandwich shop chain dedicated to ending homelessness.

The agreement will see Social Bite providing snacks and food from its industrial kitchen in Livingston, which provides employment opportunities to the homeless, to the workplace cafes run by the Good Coffee Company. In return, Social Bite will receive approximately 10 per cent of the profits from all food and drink sales.

Managing director Lawrence Morison said Good Coffee will also pay a capital sum of several thousand pounds to Social Bite for every new venue that it opens.

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The company currently has five in-house cafes in Scotland and England, with two more set to open as those corporate clients firm up plans for bringing workers back into the office. Prior to lockdown, the existing cafes served employees from companies such as Savills, Mitie, Ambassador Group, Virgin Money, Specsavers and the NHS.

Mr Morison decided to overhaul the business after seeing the change in consumer behaviour during lockdown, with more people shopping locally and looking to support their communities. As well as the link-up with Social Bite, the company will also serve coffee by Dear Green – the Glasgow roasters recognised as one of the country’s most ethical enterprises via its B Corp status – while offering sweet treats from local bakers such as Cake, Mortons and Patisserie Boulangerie.

“We are a firm with a social conscious, and our partnership with Social Bite is very much at the heart of that,” Mr Morison said. “We believe in doing good business, but we also believe business can and should do good.”

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn said the social enterprise is “delighted” to be joining “this new and exciting venture”.

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“It’s a great opportunity for us to provide our food to even more locations across Scotland and expand our wider work to help contribute to the mission of ending homelessness,” he added. “We hope many more organisations choose to get involved and consider having the Good Coffee Company in their workplaces.”

The company has seen increased interest from employers looking to upgrade their office environments to take account of workers’ needs and expectations in a post-pandemic environment, Mr Morison said. Although the commercial property market has taken a massive hit while people have been under orders to work from home, estate agents in recent months have repeatedly reported surging demand for higher-quality, flexible space.

“There’s been much said about the end of the office, but I don’t think that’s the case whatsoever,” Mr Morison said. “People don’t want to work all day, every day from home.”

He added: “In the market, there’s a real appetite from businesses to make their workplaces fit the appetite of today’s post-Covid workforce.

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“Our aim is to provide a space for people to interact, create and share joy. In doing so, our solution helps to improve productivity, financial return and employee satisfaction.”

Run by Mr Morison since September 2018, Good Coffee currently has nine employees, though they have been almost entirely on furlough since March of last year. Assuming no further setbacks in the roadmap to unlocking the economy, the company expects to be fully up and running again after the summer holidays.

The firm generated revenues of £300,000 in 2019, and expects to top £2 million within three years.

Mr Morison previously co-founded hospitality provider Azure, which was acquired in 2004 by Elior Group after growing to a turnover of £15m working for clients such as Hamilton Racecourse, Rangers Football Club, Manchester United and Hampden Park Stadium. A former member of the Royal Navy, he has also held senior roles with Diageo and Sodexo.