Hospitality, this industry we love, has always prided itself on a sense of ethics, whether its welcoming people into a collective house of communion or pioneering modern sustainability and ethical practices.
With 2018 set to be rife with mindfulness, and with recent calls for hospitality to hire more unemployed young people, we thought we’d share some practical ways that hospitality venues can become more ethical and socially conscious.
Be Inclusive with Your Hiring Policy
Hospitality venues can be as hospitable to their staff as their customers by implementing an inclusive hiring policy. It’s not about changing your entire business model but more about potentially hiring from alternative avenues.
A radical example is Jamie Oliver’s social enterprise restaurant Fifteen. In the early noughties, he gave a group of underprivileged youths in London – many with criminal records – the chance to train in hospitality. Some proclaimed it ‘a recipe for success’, and the apprentices have gone on to win awards and hold down great jobs.
These training cafés and restaurants exist In Australia too. The New Leaf Cafés in Newport & Footscray or Streat in Melbourne are great social enterprise training cafes aimed at tackling youth homelessness by offering a supported pathway to a sustainable livelihood.
There’s also a 6-month course called Nourish, run by amazing food rescue charity OzHarvest, which trains disadvantaged youths about different aspects of the industry. Get in touch with them and see if they have any great talent eager for some experience.
Source Quality Produce for Your Café or Restaurant
An effective way to be ethical is to source local, ethical and/or organic produce, which can improve the quality of your food and beverages and make your venue more environmentally friendly and sustainable by:
- lowering your carbon footprint
- promoting a variety of ingredients
- supporting your local economy
- creating a sense of community
If you’re a café, consider using coffee beans that contribute to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of coffee production at their origin. Get to know the grassroot farmers like Impos client Toby’s Estate, which builds life-changing relationships with the locals and promotes them with information cards in their cafes (pictured below).
Or there’s fellow Impos client Grumpy’s Green, a bar in Fitzroy, which reduces its carbon footprint by sourcing all its beer and wine from Victoria, and nearly all its spirits from Australia. Their list then notes how many kilometres each bottle has travelled.
With people being more aware of what they’re eating than ever before, promoting your hospitality venue as such can really reap benefits and stand you in good stead over the competition.
Get Your Hospitality Brand to Support a Good Cause
There are many methods cafes and restaurants can employ to support a good cause. From a donation box near the till to contributing, say, 20c of each cup of coffee to a charity of your choice, the options are endless.
At Melbourne café and social enterprise Good 2 Go, they don’t just help young disadvantaged youths overcome barriers, they also give customers the ability to purchase a coffee for someone who can’t afford it.
Another cause is to simply get more involved in your local community. Sponsor your local cricket team. Offer to host meet ups and book clubs. Participate in community meetings and help out in your free time. All of these things matter, and may build you more fans than you think.
Sustainability and Your Ethical Footprint
Going back to the Forbes article, their definition of mindfulness centres largely around food. They reference the Netflix film Okja and various documentaries highlighting food waste, global warming and GMOs.
Food waste is a huge issue; stats indicate that up to a staggering half of all food produced gets discarded. Luckily, there are charities out there like SecondBite and the aforementioned OzHarvest that you can partner up with to ensure your food waste is kept to a minimum. Contact some food rescue charities and ask how you can get involved.
And it’s not just food. Also think about becoming more sustainable through the implementation of smarter, modernised energy sources and effective water consumption remedies.
Our friends at Nomad Eatery in Sydney avoid wasting thousands of bottles by using a Vestal filtering and chilling water system and 10% of water revenue goes to the Whole World Water Fund. They also get their charcoal from ethical Aussie sawdust mills.
Hospitality is in a unique position. The industry that fuels the public sector with coffee and plies policy makers with culinary delights can exemplify change through compassion, humility and innovation.
If this has given you food for thought, check out our other articles on our blog, or get in touch to learn more about the chosen POS of many of Australia’s top sustainable and ethical restaurants, cafes and bars.