We’ve recently been talking to New Leaf Alresford, a fantastic local community group of over 500 members trying to promote sustainable living and business in Alresford.
They contacted us – very rightly – because we were still serving ‘eat-in’ smoothies in takeaway packaging. This was an operational hangover from our lockdown ‘takeaway’ mode and was something we immediately put right once it was pointed out to us.
However, the engagement with Imogen from New Leaf was a good opportunity to think about what we are doing – and could be doing more of – to be more sustainable as a small, local business.
We wanted to share some of our actions on this, as well as some of the things we’ve got in the pipeline.
- As many of our customers know, for years we have offered a reusable cup discount of 30p – which is on average around a 10% discount. We did pause this during lockdown, but are delighted to confirm it is back in place across all our branches.
- We have now sourced and standardised across all our branches what we consider to be the best alt-milks currently on the market. With such a large range in this space (of varying quality) we wanted to make sure we stocked ‘the best’ of each major type – the ‘best’ being our favourite in taste and texture when steamed, as well as how well they mix into beautifully creamy espresso. Therefore, we now stock:
- One of our favourite initiatives is around food waste, where in all of our towns we were the first to pioneer Too Good To Go, a great initiate to combat food waste. If you’ve not seen this app, download it! It offers great value, especially as more and more food retailers signup for it. And if you’re a food retailer, please consider signing up! It’s a great service which will become more powerful for us all as more and more local businesses sign-up. Contact us if you’d like some more information.
- On wastage, as some of our regulars know, if anyone needs coffee grounds for their gardens, just let us know and we will happily provide!
- We’ve restocked just about every brand of reasonable cup and bottle going, and will shortly be placing a new order for some more. We welcome any feedback about which brand you prefer, but at the moment it’s looking like KeepCup Brew Edition.
- On packaging, as Imogen rightly highlighted to us, the best approach here is to reduce takeaway packaging as much as possible. However, we’ve been working with our packaging supplier to identify ‘red’ items – i.e. those that cannot be composted or recycled – and we’ve identified two lines. We’ll now be working to find replacements for these.
Things we’ve got in the pipeline
In addition to the above, we’ve realise that being more sustainable allows us to bring some more innovation into our business. Therefore we’re working on two initiatives that we hope to have in place soon.
- Firstly, on energy usage we have been working with Octopus Energy’s excellent API to try and bring real-time energy usage into our management KPIs. This basically means that in the same way that every week as a management team we review each branch’s revenues and costs (and other metrics), we will bring energy consumption into this dashboard. This might sound like something ‘over engineered’ but we genuinely think it could be one of the most impactful things we do in terms of sustainability and will drive our whole team to think about energy usage. We’ll report back once we have this live.
- Secondly, we’re going to trial a water charity tap initiative in Haslemere. This involves installing a chilled, filtered still and sparkling water tap in the branch, for which we add a very small surcharge (optional, and pennies) onto each customer order. This charge goes back to the water charity which is invested into clean water initiatives across the world. We’ve still got a small bit of consulting to do on this (hence the trial!) but we’re keen to hear any thoughts on this kind of thing.
It’s been a tough year or so for all restaurants and as we get back on track, it’s a great opportunity to self-reflect on some our our practices as a business. This update (and the conversation with New Leaf Alresford) was a great chance for us to do this and is something we will look to do regularly as we get back into normality.
As always, let us know if you have any feedback or comments at email@example.com – we love a conversation.