Our Story

Seedlings is a social enterprise eatery concept aiming to empower young adults via vocational training, Seedlings Cafe leverages Banyan Tree‘s Food and Beverage expertise to create a lasting positive impact upon host communities.

We are small and humble but our impact is big. This blog is managed and run by the graduates of Seedlings Programme. We kindly ask you to take the time to hear out our story below:

After completing the 9-month training in mid-2015, Seedlings Cafe Phuket opened its doors for business on 16 July 2016 in its home within Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort, right in the middle of the Laguna Phuket integrated development. The Cafe opened with 7 of the trainees, supported by a cast of rotating experts from the other food and beverage outlets of Laguna Phuket filling out the roster.

Seeedlings (11)


Even as the opening preparations were still underway, a second intake of trainees had already begun. The end result was the next round of 15 Seedlings Cafe trainees were already well into their 9-month training schedule by the end of 2015. For the Phuket outlet, the training curriculum was prepared in consultation with and endorsed by Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus, with food and beverage training led and delivered by Banyan Tree and Angsana Phuket.

The concept was firstly launched in April 2013 in Hoi An Vietnam, Seedlings cafe leverages our restaurant expertise to provide vocational training and work experience for young adults at risk of societal exclusion.

The 9-month training program focuses on kitchens, service, overall restaurant management, and basic life skills. After completing the training, candidates work in the restaurant to build up food and beverage industry experience. Though the Cafe’s long term goal is to cover training from restaurant operation income, initial seed funding for Seedlings Cafe is provided by Banyan Tree Global Foundation.

What is the restaurant’s concept exactly?

The social enterprise restaurant is launched under Banyan Tree’s group-wide mentorship programme with the aim to provide training and job opportunities for disadvantaged local youths, giving them the necessary life skills to forge successful careers in hospitality. Seedlings serves as a launching platform for local youth development in collaboration with non-government, not-for-profit organisations, providing invaluable vocational skills and experience.

Who benefits from the programme?

The programme is designed for disadvantaged and marginalised local youths between 15 – 25 years old, under the following criteria:

  1. Youthful indiscretions
  2. Interrupted education
  3. Poverty
  4. Victims of serious crime
  5. Physically disabled

Since October 2014, 45 interns have joined Seedlings Internship Programme.

What does the programme contain?

The programme focuses on career and personal development. Other training courses provided include English language and computer skills training. The 18-month programme is divided into two phases:

Phase 1: 12-month F&B skills training at Angsana and Banyan Tree

Phase 2: 6-month working experience in restaurant at Seedlings

Prince of Songkla University, Phuket campus provides curriculum consultations and endorsement.

Who are the programme’s partners?

  1. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Welfare (Phuket Office)
  2. Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus

What awards has the programme received?

  • The U.S Ambassador’s Award 2016: Seedlings Internship Program: Inclusion of LGBTQ and equality.
  • The AMCHAM CSR Award 2015: Honoring member organisations that create long term economic and social benefits in their communities.