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Employment Options, Inc.: Catering Options

Founded in 1967, Employment Options has been supporting individuals with mental illness for almost fifty years.  Although the service models and agency names have changed over the years, our belief that employment is an essential tool toward recovery has remained constant. In 1990, Employment Options opened the Options Clubhouse, located in Marlborough, MA; an evidence-based model creating a working community designed to support individuals in their recovery and pursuit of education, training, employment and community integration.  Members work to transform their lives and empower one another to achieve their full potential.

Mission Statement:  To empower individuals and families in recovery to thrive in their communities.  Employment Options is a nonprofit agency serving those in the MetroWest region who are looking to improve and manage their mental health. With a forward-thinking approach, Employment Options provides an environment where individuals support and encourage each other to live life to its fullest and gain the dignity and respect we all deserve as individuals.

Catering Options:  Within this social enterprise, we apply a business concept to help meet our mission. Catering Options assists in training our members for roles in the workplace, and helps us meet our fundraising goals by bringing in much-needed revenue. Catering Options is a full service catering operation that supports our members in gaining valuable transferable workplace skills.  Since the creation of the Options Clubhouse over 26 years ago, Employment Options has operated and provided both healthy and high-quality meal services for our members in our Marlborough facility. Now, Catering Option utilizes its industrial-size kitchen facility to prepare and serve our growing customer base. The Clubhouse dining room also serves as a rental venue for Catering Options customers to hold events.

As a social enterprise, Catering Options applies commercial and business strategies to maximize benefits and resources for its members. Catering Options generates an income stream to support and advance funding for the organization by leveraging our existing resources including the Employment Options facility, staff, equipment and transportation services.  Catering Options generates revenue and profitability by pricing our products and services to cover costs, while still offering competitive rates to our customers. Our customers also know that we provide a socially responsible service and appreciate our efforts as a social enterprise.  Due to limited grant funding for nonprofits, organizations such as our own must seek other methods to finance their operations and achieve their social goals. Our current goal is for Catering Options to be self-funded. Over the next few years as we grow our customer base and increase our profits, Catering Options will provide a steady funding stream for the organization.

The social objective of Catering Options is to offer training and job practice in the culinary industry for our disadvantaged, unemployed MetroWest citizens who have suffered from mental illnesses. Through this social enterprise, Employment Option will increase our capacity to reach more citizens in need by involving our members in the Catering Options operations.  This social enterprise presents a great opportunity for members to gain hands-on experience with food production and customer interaction, improving their chances of employment placements in the job market; thus, members will directly benefit from the operations and the revenues of Catering Options’ success.  Catering Options also allows Employment Options to enter new arenas for networking for our Clubhouse. Many customers learn about Employment Options through our events and interactions with Catering Options, and are then interested in helping out our organization as a whole.

Measure of Success

Adds revenue to agency
Serves more clients
Improves client services