Gram ensures sustainability issue remains centre stage

Gram Go Green Debate Hotelympia 2016

Hoshizaki Gram has hosted the first of its 2016 Go Green Debate webinars, with panelists agreeing that getting the most out of energy efficient equipment is as much down to staff application as it is the design of the appliance. 

Hoshizaki Gram UK’s MD, Glenn Roberts, took part in the debate along with a panel of industry experts including Kate Gould, managing director at Keg Catering Consultants and co founder of CaterOps, Dominic Burbridge, associate director at The Carbon Trust, James Sharman, energy manager at Mitchells & Butlers and Richard Gladwin, joint owner of The Shed and Rabbit restaurants, to discuss ‘The future of Sustainability: What are the barriers to sustainability in the kitchen?’

Addressing the question of ‘what does he see as the biggest barrier to implementing sustainability in the foodservice industry’, M&B’s Sharman commented: “Behavioural change is key, you can install the most energy efficient equipment available on the market, but if employees aren’t educated on how to use it properly the benefits won’t be tangible. Investing time in training staff is paramount and something that we do relentlessly at Mitchells & Butlers.”

Responding to the same question, Dominic Burbridge from The Carbon Trust added: “For decisive action a sense of urgency, clarity on what it is you need to do and the alignment of everybody within the team is required, it’s essential to have leadership from the top and buy in from the heart of the operation, sustainability needs to be baked in to the business strategy.”

Picking up on Sharman’s previous point, Burbridge reiterated the importance of engaging with staff and getting them to understand the importance of being sustainable – a theme that reoccurred throughout the debate.

As CaterOps co-founder Kate Gould added: ‘I’m always surprised at the amount of times I go into a kitchen and have to turn off a hot water tap. There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding of not only how detrimental that is to the environment but also what effect it has on the business. It would be beneficial to see some incentives for staff to do simple things such as turning off hot water taps and have a better understanding of the equipment they’re using”.

The theme was also echoed by joint owner of The Chef and Rabbit restaurants, Richard Gladwin. “In an extremely competitive market, where everyone is trying to be the best of operators it is really important to go in thinking sustainably and holding that at the core of all operations from the head chef and general manager to the waiting staff and kitchen porters, to ensure the sustainable message is spread through the whole chain,” he said.

The topic was one on which Hoshizaki Gram UK’s MD, Glenn Roberts concurred, as he commented: “The recurrent topic of staff participation and engagement discussed in our latest webinar debate raised the question as to whether staff are the biggest barrier to implementing sustainability in the kitchen? It is apparent that there needs to be an opinion shift on sustainability and operators need to consider implementing benefits for their staff who follow the business’ sustainability strategy, to help implement a move from sustainability being all about the environment and saving a business money, to having a bigger focus on the individual and how it benefits them to help ensure a more collaborative approach in the business”.

The first Gram Go Green Debate webinar of 2016 is available to view at www.thegogreendebate.co.uk

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