Running a restaurant or cafe is tough. Decent staff is hard to find. Margins are razor-thin. Attractive fit-outs are expensive and need renewing every five to 10 years.

That's why we're impressed by the venues on this list. In addition to foregoing profit to help those in need, they operate in one of the toughest, most competitive industries around.

Each spot works to a slightly different model - from training refugees in-house, to simply donating profits - but all deserve your business.

Tradeblock Cafe

Training deaf year 11 and 12 students in hospitality.

597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Feast of Merit

Eat dinner here and you'll support programs in Malawi, Ghana, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Australia.

Restaurant 117 Swan Street, Richmond
Book a Table

Kinfolk Cafe

One hundred per cent of profits to local and international causes.

673 Bourke Street, Melbourne

The Final Step

Helps starving kids in Argentina.

1C Murphy Street, South Yarra

Charcoal Lane

Not-for-profit fine-dining? Yes, it can be done.

136 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Book a Table

Long Street Coffee

Featuring refugees and asylum seekers behind the coffee machine.

45 Little Hoddle Street, Richmond

Cromwell STREAT

More than 500 disadvantaged youths have trained at these cafes since 2010.

66 Cromwell Street, Collingwood

ACspresSO

A second chance for current or former prison inmates.

2 Regent Street, Richmond North

Wild Timor Cafe Coburg

Buy a coffee, support farmers in Timor-Leste.

282 Sydney Road, Coburg

Wild Timor Cafe Carlton

Spot number two for four soldiers turned philanthropists.

251 Faraday Street, Carlton

Lentil As Anything

Pay-what-you feel, meaning anyone can eat here.

1-3 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford

Home.one

Coffee, porridge, bircher muesli, and bagels that help support Melbourne’s homeless.

6 Florence Street, Brunswick