Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC Jan-Feb 2017 Contents round table
my experience, customers just have
an insatiable want for napkins. People
are talking about sustainability but I
don’t know if customers have made
that link to the hospitality industry,
and if they’re aware enough of that to
not ask for the things that are super
wasteful. So whether we need to be
creating more awareness.
SC: So is there more we can be doing
to educate customers, whether it
is through social media or inserts
AC: Yes, definitely. The more people
become aware of it, the less they
demand those wasteful things of the
businesses that we’re involved in, and
the more we can do.
DS: I think the dollar value part of
it is massive. When I was at one
of my old venues we were looking
at getting Who Gives A Crap toilet
paper, it suited our narrative and is
responsible. But when it came down
to it, it would triple the price of toilet
paper in our venue, so we had to pass.
AG: As much as we do care about the
planet, if it is not something that you
can buy for cheaper than you would
buy the problem, then you’re just
going to continue using the problem.
GF: Getting rid of straws is great
but having that conversation over
and over when you’re busy? I think
to move on this as an industry we
would need all of the smaller bars on
board first. People in The Sheaf, their
drink is the third or fourth thing on
their list, they don’t want to have a
conversation about straws.
SD: It’s also a bit of a chicken and
egg scenario but – I can’t believe
I’m saying this – if we as the bigger
venues actually did this, it would
be a painful six months to a year
of having the, “Why don’t you have
straws” conversation 1500 times a day,
but it would probably actually affect
TP: We actually have a great avenue
for “no straws” within Solotel. We
have The Whisky Room in the Clock
or Uncle Hops in The Bank – the bar-
within-bar scenario. Start there with
no straws. Then run a “sustainable
bar” social media campaign so people
start talking about it. Then slowly
phase straws out in the whole venue
– we don’t have to wait for a small bar
to do it, because we already have a
small bar inside our big bar.
JS: It’s testing the waters in some
of our bigger venues too. But I’m
concerned that we don’t want to have
to be in that scenario where we don’t
want to have to preach to people
either. They might be on a Tinder date
– they don’t need this shit.
AG: We actually had an idea for that
for raising awareness without shoving
it in people’s faces: imagine you walk
into a venue and there is a giant glass
vase that is filled with broken bottles,
and a little sign that says: This much
waste is from one week. People might
not even read it but it can potentially
start a conversation.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE? BARS
WITH NO ICE, NO NAPKINS, AND
NO GARNISHES? OR IS THAT
TOO FAR REMOVED FROM WHAT
SD: People want to do a shallow dive
into whatever the fad thing is, not that
this is a fad, but no one is drinking at
White Lyan four nights a week.
AG: No one is drinking there anymore
because it’s not open. Is there a
reason? Was it too forward thinking
and people just weren’t ready for it?
AC: There has to be a happy medium.
I think the first step is food wastage
and garnishes. Then the next step is
napkins and straws, taking baby steps.
JS: It’s also 35 degrees outside today
ice. It’s a perception thing. Would you
feel comfortable serving a drink with
no ice? What do you think your guests
would do? They’d blow up. We’re light
years away from that.
SC: But is this the future when it
comes to using less energy in bars?
That’s another whole issue for
SD: To be fair, using water, as a
resource (in a totally white privileged
way) is super easy in Australia. If
you can offset or be completely
independent of your power usage,
then there is no issue with ice. Not
saying every pub should go out and
put solar panels on their roof – but
they could, they’re big flat spaces that
get sun. I’ll just wack some on the
sides of the sails of the Opera House.
But be smarter about it and still give
your guests something in line with
JS: I think we could be a lot better
about power. We’ve got lights on
outside during the day. And I think
that just comes down to managers
walking in and having their robotic
checklist because that is what has
always happened and no one has ever
challenged it. It’s challenging that
status quo of, “Oh that’s what I was
told to do when I first started”. We can
do better. And that is an easy win that
we can have off the bat. Then we look
at the straws and the napkins.
TP: Air con is the biggest one for me.
People putting the air con on in the
bar and leaving the doors open – I
just hear my dad in the back of my
head, “Air con lockdown time. Close
all the doors. Close all the windows”.
Some days I’ve walked in and there
are big windows open onto the deck
and the air con is blaring. What’s the
SD: Common sense is hard to expect
in people. If we could all be a bit
smarter, that would be good but it
would really require reframing a lot
of people – because you always set up
for the busiest part of the day so that
no one forgets to turn the lights on at
5pm when they’re busy and all of a
sudden it gets dark.
SC: So is that the required investment
to begin with? Are you, as managers,
going to have to spend six months
having the same conversation again
and again and again, but eventually
it sticks. Then for your newbies,
that is the conversation they have
heard right from the beginning so
it’s embedded in them straight away.
So is that the sort of investment
operators and managers need to
make from now?
AG: Yes – and just the fact that we are
here right now having this discussion
is amazing. This is the start and this
is what needs to happen more often.
That’s how we start it. We need to
help each other. We just have to start
There is a lot more to this conversation, around
supporting brands who support bars, shaking up waste
disposal, and how buying spirits in kegs might not be
such a bad idea. Head to professional.topshelfshow.
com.au/category/features to read more.
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