AUTHOR: Julia Wilkinson, Group Restaurant Strategy Executive, Shaftesbury

Sustainability is undoubtedly part of the DNA of most emerging F&B operators that we come across these days and flows through all aspects of the inception of a new concept; from first ideas, to fit-out design, product and ingredient sourcing, team-building and the restaurant’s place within their wider community.

Start-ups and graduates of street-food markets, festivals and pop-ups are intrinsically influenced by the immediate and direct feedback that they receive from their customers and reflect their values and aspirations, which are increasingly environmentally conscious and self-aware.

Plant-based concepts are still a strong trend – three of our new lettings over the last 18 months have been to vegan concepts and we are also seeing an increase in the number of vegan and vegetarian dishes included in the menus across all concepts, reflecting flexitarian and environmentally conscious dining trends.

We are also seeing an increased trend by operators to factor in sustainability from the earliest design stages of their concepts, re-using existing fixtures, fittings and kitchen equipment where practical to do so rather than stripping out and starting from scratch. More sustainable choice of materials used in shop-fits, energy, waste and water conscious designs are also high on operators’ agendas.

It’s now a given in the industry that F&B operators aim to be single-use plastic free, to offer free tap water and to purchase from more sustainable sources of seafood. We have been inspired by our environmentally aware tenants to celebrate this and to help build on these good practices by initiating the Blue Turtle Pledge in Carnaby.  So far, 46 of our tenants have signed up to adopt these ocean-friendly initiatives and also to promote enhanced waste management practices and to collaborate, communicate and promote these measures to other businesses in their community.

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