In 1935, during the Great Depression, Doris Syfret realised the need for a cheap yet nutritious meal for the growing number of unemployed people in Cape Town. This was the beginning of The Service Dining Rooms, set up by Ms Syfret and two of her friends. For what was known then as a tickey, anyone in need of food could buy themselves a plate of hot food.
A few years later, the red brick building that is now a landmark on the eastern side of the city was erected at 82 Canterbury Street.
The kitchen, dining rooms, offices and outside facilities have all been refurbished in recent years, often with the help of donations from community and church organisations.