Key Facts

  • Holding organisation: ALEI l'Associació local d'entitats per la incluisó
  • Status: Umbrella Association representing 29 local third-sector organizations
  • Financing: Project budget : 176,000€ (SOURCE: EL PAIS)
    • Public and Private Funds (130,000€): TV3 Marathon for Poverty (95,700€) ; Terrassa Municipality (30,000€) Caritas (13,500€) + Free Location for the restaurant setting (la colla castellera Minyons de Terrassa)
    • Restaurant income (37 500€) NB : Half of the daily revenue comes from regular customers ; the other half comes from the work exchange scheme done by “time customers”
  • People involved in the project:
    • Project team 5 persons with 2 professionnal cookers
    • Operating team (in rotation): 35 “time customers” involved in the program on a 3 months basis.
  • Creation Date: 21st March 2013
  • Contact Persons: Xavier Casas/ restaurant manager
  • Main project links:

The idea

In a time of severe crisis in Spain, this restaurant gives the opportunity for people out of the job market to be able to eat out and enjoy a quality meal in exchange of a few hours of work done for the service/cleaning. As the manager says “there has been a raising demand for social meals but not from people in a situation of social exclusion. The people working in the restaurant had recently a job and a normal life, they all have the capacity to work. We have decided to take advantage of this situation and develop a project adapted to the specific context.”

The local context

Spain currently has more than 6 million unemployed, and more than 3.5 million of those are considered “long-term unemployed,” (i.e. out of work for at least a year). Unemployment has reached an unprecedented peak in Spain with nearly 27% of the active population out of a job and 60% of the Young people between 15 and 24. (European Council Fact Sheet on Youth Employment ) This situation has pushed authorities and organizations to seek for new opportunities such as time work exchange schemes. The program as said by its supporters is an “ alternative way of contributing to the economy—and helping some of Spain’s long-term unemployed.”

How does it work today?

The restaurant provides high-quality meals (local fresh food from regional producers part organic or ethical) to the most. The system is equally balanced by customers who can afford the 6,5€ meal and the “time consumers”who give some time either serving, cleaning or washing up in exchange of a free meal. The time consumers are long-term unemployed persons and other vulnerable persons who live under the poverty line identified by the local social services and Caritas. In order to reach more people, a rotating system has been developed ; every 3 months, new persons can take part in this project. During the project’s first year, Casas estimates that the restaurant will generate more than 15,000 hours of voluntary work reaching more than 300 unemployed people.

Added value of the project and making resources available

  • Strengthen people self esteem
  • Improve people’s dailylife

“Since I have been here I feel more optimistic. I have made lots of friends. We all stick together and encourage each other. It is a unique opportunity.” Says Julia Gonzales a former cleaner who has been unemployed for 2 years.


Finding new funding sources by developping the customer base and the attractivity of the restaurant.

Future perspective

Developing job opportunities for the long-term unemployed by developping a network of partners’ enterprises.

Other valuable projects

Prepárate Banco de tiempo: a timebank for people to help each other to find a job. It is a collaborative plateform to share knowledge ans skills to improve its employability. The platform has been launched in Barcelona one month ago. Time is the currency > 1 hour = 1 hour. This project is coordinated by InfoJobs the largest online Job Search in Europe. As money is becoming more and more scarce, the platform is designed for people to collaborate to help improve their employability or to foster their entrepeneuring projects, using time as the currency. Contact: Anne Cécile RAGOT TAOA Link:

Sources and links

Articles online: