Hospitality

Meet the Brisbane business owner serving free meals to the homeless every night

Dominic Powell /

For any business owner in the food or hospitality industry, you’re probably familiar with the massive amount of food going to waste every day as businesses chuck it out after the business closes at night. But one Brisbane-based business is bucking the trend.

The owner of Indian restaurant Ginger and Garlic in Brisbane’s CBD Ashish Sood has told the ABC why his business offers free meals to the homeless each night, after signs in the store’s windows advertising the fact drew local attention.

Sood says he came to Australia in 2007 with a student visa and nowhere to go, sleeping rough in parks around Brisbane for a few weeks before getting back on his feet. It was that experience that made the business owner sympathise with Australia’s homeless population, and now more than 10 years later, he’s looking to give back.

So after 10.30 each night (8.30 on Sundays), Sood serves up all of his restaurant’s leftover food to anyone that wants it, and has been doing so for the past five months.

“We’ve got so many people homeless, I have eight to nine people I see regularly. I want more, if there are more homeless people I’m happy to feed them, all of them,” Sood told the ABC.

“Whatever they want to eat, I’m happy to give away whatever they want to eat. It’s already food ready in the bain-marie and whatever is left over, I feel bad putting food in the bin, so it’s good people are eating it.”

SmartCompany has previously reported on the ‘silent force’ of business owners who endeavour to give back to their communities, with a report revealing 51% of business owners volunteer a number 10% higher than the national average.

Speaking to SmartCompany in March, Kathryn Bordonaro, co-founder of finance broker Allbiz Finance, said she volunteered and contributed to the local community to help feel connected, and as a way to give back as a business owner.

“You’re not doing it for the medal on your chest, you do it because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a strong force that runs through so many communities. It’s a strong network and a nice network as well.”

The business owner also said she found it was a way to get some new customers, a side-effect Sood told the ABC he was also benefitting from.

“People are so happy. They’ve giving me thumbs up … they’re helping me to keep doing more. I’m really happy about it,” he said.

Customers on Facebook were similarly supportive, with many saying they’d be seeking out Sood and his business after hearing about his support of Brisbane’s homeless population.

“Paying customers please support this wonderful generous man so that he can continue to support our most vulnerable people,” said one commenter.

NOW READ: From KeepCups to volunteering: Three ways to build a business that will have an positive impact

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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