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A solidary restaurant: inclusion through employment

Creation of a solidary restaurant for people who are excluded from the workplace in Nantes

The association Les Eaux Vives Emmaüs has been fighting for 40 years for the inclusion of the most disadvantaged people in Loire Atlantique Department in the west of France. The Air Liquide Foundation supports the creation of a solidary restaurant co-sponsored by Les Eaux Vives Emmaüs as part of the 5Ponts global social inclusion project, located on Île-de-Nantes. This restaurant aims to be a support for integration through employment but also a place of new encounters and social diversity.

Recruitment difficulties in shortage professions

The Union of the hotel trades and industries has registered 100,000 unfilled positions in the hotel and restaurant sectors (Umih-2017). This results in tensions on the labour market, where some employers have difficulty recruiting qualified personnel. The number of long-term job seekers has increased by 5.5% in the Nantes urban area (Urban Planning Agency of the Nantes Region, 2018). In order to bridge the gap between job seekers and shortage professions, appropriate support mechanisms are being designed to allow a return to sustainable employment for vulnerable groups of the population.

100,000 positions are unfilled in the hotel and catering industry (Umih-2017)

Building integration pathways into shortage professions

Les Eaux Vives Emmaüs creates a solidary foodservice activity in order to strengthen the employability of long-term or vulnerable job seekers. This activity revolves around an inclusion and integration program in the catering, sales and logistics sectors.

31 People assisted

6 Employees in integration

70 % of positive outcomes following the program (employment, training)

The Work

The restaurant is developing a social offer for people in precarious situations accompanied by Les Eaux Vives Emmaüs (including homeless people) and a range of commercial foodservice activities. It includes a solidary café and welcomes neighbors, students and people in precarious situations in the same friendly setting. This social diversity promotes new encounters and helps to change the outlook and develop the self-confidence of the audiences welcomed by Les Eaux Vives Emmaüs. The restaurant aims to have a limited environmental impact thanks to products from short and sustainable circuits, an optimisation of production in order to avoid food waste and the recycling of bio-waste.

Les Eaux Vives Emmaüs integration project allows unemployed and vulnerable people to come closer to the world of work and to train for jobs, such as versatile kitchen and room employee, as well as administrative and sales assistant. In addition, the Dispositif Premières Heures contracts in partnership with Emmaüs Défi are aimed at people who have not worked for a long time and wish to initiate a professional reintegration process through a 150-hour course with gradual stages over several months.

Professional support is combined with social and individual support in order to pay particular attention to the individual issues encountered by beneficiaries (housing, health, childcare, digital exclusion).

Les Eaux Vives

What the Air Liquide Foundation is doing

The Foundation contributes to the financing to equip the professional kitchen of the restaurant.


"The restaurant is the heart of the 5Ponts district, which, for us, foreshadows the inclusive city of tomorrow. By creating this space of conviviality, we want to break down barriers and fight against stereotypes, while offering concrete prospects for professional integration to those who need them most.

The partnership with the Air Liquide Foundation allows us to complete this project under the best conditions and, thanks to the mobilisation of our Air Liquide sponsor, we have identified concrete partnership perspectives to support the integration of people in difficulty."

Pauline de La CRUZ, In charge of Development, Les Eaux Vives Emmaüs