When it comes to eating out, today’s diners are looking for more than just beautiful food, fabulous service and divine décor from their restaurant experiences.
Celebrated restaurateur Fleur Caulton is all too aware of the need to uphold sustainable practices, which is why the restaurants in her Go To Collection have set ambitious sustainability targets.
The group’s restaurants – Hawker & Roll, Madam Woo, and Rata – are planning to eliminate single-use plastics by 2022.
As part of the move, all straws in the eateries are either metal or made of recyclable paper. Menus are printed on recycled paper, and all takeaway packaging is biodegradable, sourced from Innocent Packaging.
Go To Collection is also going through a process with Sustainability Queenstown to better understand the volume of waste being produced, opportunities for waste reduction, and how the restaurants can work better in local communities and with suppliers to manage waste output.
The restaurants’ teams are also encouraged to be mindful of waste by having ongoing competitions, and in one month they saved the equivalent of 500km of cling film.
While a lot of the sustainability measures go unnoticed by customers, Caulton said those that are publicly visible have been “hugely celebrated”.
“Sustainability is an issue that affects everyone and we are certainly experiencing great support from the communities as we go on this journey,” she said.
The sustainability measures extend beyond the restaurants for Caulton, and she makes sure to always lead by example.
“There was shock horror when I banned single-use coffee cups coming into the office a few years ago, but now no one would dare to cross the front door with one,” she said.
“We have paperless board meetings, and in general at home we do as much as possible within the limitations of our area.”
Caulton conceded some of the environmentally-friendly initiatives come at the expense of profitability, but she said they are “the right thing to do”.
“It’s a choice that everyone – from upper management to the restaurants – supports.”
With the Go To Collection set to open two new restaurants in Auckland early to mid-2020, it seems Caulton is managing to perfectly marry sustainability with business success.