Over the years, multiple eateries with a mission to empower the marginalised, such as the lower-income household, women and the Person With Disabilities communities. Following up on our first article highlighting 12 social enterprise eateries, we have uncovered nine more so you will never run out of options to dine while supporting the local communities.
#1: Disabled-In-Business (DIB) Restaurant Cafe
The enterprise went by the name Deaf-In-Business Coffees of Hawaii in its earlier days with the founder, Dr Allen Teh’s intention of introducing the Hawaiian roasted beans to Malaysians in 2011.
As the import of coffee beans straight from the island is costly, the eatery renamed itself Disabled-In-Business Restaurant in 2017 and is now run by 95% hearing impaired personnel.
Located on the first floor of Menara Gamuda complete with an outdoor garden seating option, DIB prides itself on its in-house roasted 100% Arabica beans and menu that ranges from the Western assortment and local delicacies. The restrictions imposed to curb the COVID-19 spread hit DIB hard like many other food and beverage outlets, but Dr Allen Teh weathered the storm without any pay cuts to his eight employees working in DIB .
Drop by DIB Restaurant at PJ Trade Centre and enjoy DIB’s well-brewed coffee.
Address: 1st Floor, Menara Gamuda, PJ Trade Centre, Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya
Opening hours: 10 am – 8.30 pm (Closed on Sunday)
#2: RC Deaf Missions Cafe
The RC Deaf Missions Cafe is an extension of a training centre founded by siblings Agnes and Mario Peter formed RC Deaf Missions Malaysia back in 2006. The establishment of the cafe in 2018 came organically since one of their senior staff, Bani, was already baking for their conducted workshops .
Soon, Agnes and Mario employed a team of deaf staff to assist Bani.
The cafe currently has nine employees, two of whom are interpreters. But, that’s not all; RC Deaf Missions Cafe continuously provides training to Bani and the team to develop their skills further.
The cafe located conveniently opposite the Kelana Jaya LRT station offers not just freshly baked goods but also sandwiches that are the talk of the town.
Address: Jalan SS25/2, Taman Bukit Emas 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening hours: 9am – 6pm (Closed on Sunday)
#3: Kedai Makan Abang Tukang Masak
Shahrul Nizam, the owner of Kedai Makan Abang Tukang Masak, grew up in squatters as a child and is familiar with the feeling of going to sleep hungry. Shahrul had to drop out of a culinary diploma course at a local institution after one semester due to financial circumstances and did not let that dampen his passion for cooking.
Sharul finally managed to establish an eatery and catering business in Damansara Damai after years of performing odd jobs.
His encounter with a mother with seven children who bought a packet of rice with an egg to share between her children spurred Shahrul into action. He took the initiative to provide work opportunities for women from lower-income households.
Backed with better skills, one of his employees, Nur Fadzilah Masiram was allowed to supply her homemade brownies at the eatery and received orders from the general public.
During the MCOs, Shahrul and his team took a step further by providing food assistance by leaving packed food outside his eatery and delivering essentials to those in need. In 2020 alone, more than 100,000 meals and 2,300 essentials were dispatched.
Address: C-G01,Block C, Plaza Suria, Jalan PJU 10/4c, Damansara Damai
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm (Closed on Saturday)
#4: Coffee For Good
The coffee culture in Malaysia has seen the cafe scene booming over the past few years with many Malaysians becoming cafe aficionados. Coffee For Good started with Faridah Halina’s passion for coffee and armed with a barista certification from Australia, Faridah aimed to create a coffee brand that serves more than just a good cup of coffee .
Together with Dalia Azis, Coffee For Good came into the picture in 2015 intending to reach out mainly to school leavers from the B40 income group who might struggle in securing a stable job. The key to Coffee For Good longevity is by leveraging on operating small kiosks to ensure the cost is low and more emphasis is placed on training more youth.
If you’re on your way to work via the LRT, stop by the Coffee For Good kiosk at LRT Kerinchi Station.
Address: LRT Kerinchi
Opening hours: 8 am – 6pm (Closed on Saturday and Sunday)
#5: Seven Tea One
Founded in 2018, Seven Tea One located in Shah Alam, started with one purpose in mind. The owner-director, Lai Chong Haur, said the enterprise prioritises employing disabled youths from B40 families to empower them financially.
Seven Tea One specialises in handcrafted infusion teas made from local herbs, flowers and spices sourced from farms and community gardens around the Klang Valley. Over time, the team at Seven Tea One have started making cookies, dried fruits, handmade soaps and most recently-cooked meals following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Watching the 18 teenagers with Down Syndrome and Autism at work and thriving is a pure delight to Lai. In addition to a Kitchen For Good Cafe at Setia Alam, Seven Tea One’s goods can also be purchased on their website.
Address: 41-GF, Jalan Setia Perdana BE, U13/BE, Setia Alam, 40170 Shah Alam, Selangor
Opening hours: 9.30am-6pm (closed on Sundays)
#6: Kafe Basikal Tua
Far from the hustle and bustle of the city lies a cafe nestled in between lush trees and greenery in Kampung Sungai Penchala. Kafe Basikal Tua, founded by a stroke survivor, Raja Iskandar, is an invitation extended by him to escape to his little secret garden for private lunches and dinners.
The cafe serves a three-course lunch package consisting of ubi kayu sambal bilis and fresh coconut water as appetisers; nasi kerabu, nasi ganja, nasi lamuni, krabu prawn bee hoon, or mee kari utara as the main dish options. The meals are prepared by the hands of families of the visually-impaired community.
However, there’s a catch: the hidden space serves around six to 20 guests with no walk-ins. Entry to the cafe requires prior reservation via Whatsapp.
Contact: +6011 6170 8502
#7: Bake With Dignity
An employment initiative revolving around adults with learning disabilities (AwLD) started its operations out of a house in Taman Tun Dr Ismail in 1991. Years later, they managed to open a store in Bandar Sunway. The bakery boasts an expansive and diverse menu, all baked, cooked and served by nine bakers with learning disabilities.
Try some of their go-to-delicious dishes such as the Thai-style roast chicken and sweet goodies such as their cupcakes and savoury pastries.
Address: A2-126 Ground Floor, Leisure Commerce Square, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening hours: 10am – 5pm (closed on Saturday and Sunday)
#8: Bites n’ Beans Cafe
The brainchild behind this social enterprise eatery is the Association of Social Services and Community Development of Gombak District, Selangor (PSPK) serving the women, children and the urban poor community in Gombak. The cafe assists womenfolk from the B40 community with an affinity for cooking and baking.
The cafe located in Selayang Baru established in 2019 has created 34 jobs for the community and subsequently reached out to 3000 beneficiaries. The eatery has a wide array of pasta dishes to choose from but patrons have given their thumbs-up to the Bengali bread available for purchase at the cafe.
Address: No 17D, Jalan Besar Selayang Baru 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 9.00 am-9.00pm (closed on Tuesdays)
#9: I’mPossible Cafe
With the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, one local NGO rose to the challenge and showed that anything is possible as they launched an employment initiative through the opening of a cafe. The I’m Possible cafe operated by United Voice celebrated its first anniversary in March this year and has provided job opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities. Not only is it a training ground, but the cafe also acts as a platform for public awareness for the patrons and comfortable space for those with learning disabilities.
In addition to serving freshly baked tarts and pastries, the cafe also showcases paintings, weaving and sewing merchandise made by the fair hands of their gifted artists.
Address: 603 Jalan 17/12 Seksyen 17, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Thursdays, from 9.30am to 4pm.
Explore our sources:
- M.Sivanesan. (2022). 8 Eateries Run By The Differently-Abled In Malaysia. Zafigo.com. Link
- W.Z.Tan. (2020). PJ’s Deaf In Business restaurant provides jobs, better life to people with disabilities. Malay Mail. Link
- A.Kaur. (2022). Café run by the deaf offers food, handicrafts and more. Free Malaysia Today. Link
- R.Muharam. (2020). Bantu orang kerana pernah hidup susah.Harian Metro. Link
- Berita Harian. (2018). Bekerja, belajar sambil urus perniagaan. Link
- S.Dayangku. (2019).How This M’sian Business Has Survived 4 Years Simply By Selling Cups Of Coffee With A Cause. Vulcan Post. Link
- The Star. (2020). The perfect recipe for the differently abled to thrive.Link
- G.Tong. (2020). Bake with dignity – Empowering adults with disabilities through baking. MalaysiaKini. Link
- Bites n Beans website. Link
- The Star. (2022). Celebrating first anniversary with brew of possibilities.Link