Thoughts on a zero waste ethos

We all know that reducing waste is the right thing to do. Here are some of the ways that minimizing waste can help to support the success of your business: 

Food waste is a costly practice. According to a report by NPR, one half pound of food for every restaurant guest served, on average, is discarded. As much as ten percent of food purchased by restaurants ends up in the landfill. This is obviously a huge waste of resources, with negative environmental impact. This is also a significant blow to a restaurant’s bottom line. We have decided that our next restaurant will be built with a zero-waste ethos from the ground up. With some careful planning and a solution-based attitude we plan on creating systems that result in a win-win.

Regarding food waste, careful ordering can greatly reduce the amount of product that is left unused. In addition, creative menu planning and using every part of the plant adds value where many would just see waste. This idea of “root to shoot” cooking is something Davin has been practicing for decades, and it is a wonderful way to diversify taste and increase profit. Popular examples include beet stem relish, carrot top pesto, and banana peel taco filling. Tangerine peels can be used to create a tasty vinaigrette, and the pulp can be fermented into a tangerine koshu. Any plant parts that cannot be repurposed, as well as post-consumer food scraps, will be composted by one of several local contractors.

            In addition to food, we will take care to reduce the use of all disposables, even those that can be recycled. Keg beer, sake, and wine are economical and eliminate the need for bottles. They also help to reduce loss associated with product waste. Similarly, locally crafted tap sodas and cold brew coffee will be a great compliment to our menu preparations. We will work with our vendors to avoid delivery with packing materials that cannot be recycled and reused.

            This commitment might present challenges but as systems are created will yield many benefits. We will have a lower cost of food by leaving very little wasted product. We will have a unique branding position as a restaurant that has chosen to “opt out” of waste. As we have experienced at our current restaurants, we will have additional buy-in from our team as they feel proud to work for a conscientious company.

Forward movement!

It's been almost a year since I attended the CRRA conference in San Diego and first began thinking about what a zero waste restaurant might look like. Not long after that someone brought up the idea of a vegan concept, prompting Davin and I to begin planning (or should I say, PLOTTING ;) We have both been busy running our other restaurants, and I have been finishing my MBA, so we planned on taking our time. About a month ago we received a call regarding an open location in our home town, and we realized that this was the opportunity we have been waiting for. We plan on opening Plot locations all over the place, but we had hoped that our flagship would be in the city that has been so supportive of us. Oceanside has evolved over the years from a town that was known to be rough around the edges to an exciting, evolving hot-spot that features a burgeoning culinary scene and a vibrant culture of locally owned businesses. We can think of no better place to launch our first Plot. As of now we are close to signing a lease and ready to dive in. We have joined forces with local culinary legend Christopher Logan, who brings with him decades of experience building and scaling restaurants. Chris also has another trait that is crucial to this project: he believes in the cause. Our little team is ready to begin building a plant-based restaurant that will satisfy omnivores, vegans and everyone in between. We are so excited! 

If you are interested in learning more, or think you would like to join forces with us, please reach out via our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Blessings! JW

Hey there

I have never been much of a blogger, but I am going to try and jot down a few thoughts while we work on creating this thing. It already exists in my head: this gorgeous restaurant that produces delicious vegan food while maintaining zero waste operations. Ethically, environmentally and nutritionally I know that we are headed in the right direction. Judging by the ordering trends I see at my own restaurants, articles I have read, and feedback from the community I believe that this project makes sense from a business perspective as well. After almost 30 years as a vegetarian and vegan nothing could make me happier than to see our society evolve in the direction of respectful and conscientious consumption. I am so overwhelmingly excited to be on this journey. Much love, Jess  

"As we roll into a new year, we can expect more of the same, but there’s one trend over all others that looks to define the way we’ll be eating over the next 12 months: 2018 will be the year of dining consciously.
That means looking out for our health, our planet and those we share it with it as we tuck in to our dinner. But not in a worthy way. This year London is set to show the world just how delicious making a difference can be."
 

"2017 was the year vegan food became more mainstream and we will continue to see it grow in 2018. Not only have more casual dining chains, like Wagamama and JD Wetherspoon added more vegan dishes to menus, but we also saw the arrival of plant-based restaurants, such as Wulf & Lamb and US chain by Chloe. Experts predict this will continue into 2018.
Ben Marks, chef at Perilla in London adds: “I think vegan food will become far more common and accessible as people become more conscious about the environment and their health. I think we’ll see top chefs having to embrace the movement, dietary requirements have massively increased since I started cooking and it’s difficult to ignore the issues that are arising with our environment.”
André Garrett, executive chef at Cliveden House says we can expect to see more of that this year: “I think we will see more and more movement away from food waste and as a result, an increase in ‘nose to tail’ cooking or `root to shoot`, using every part of a vegetable.”