Brexit, Extinction Rebellion and Covid and are just three of the powerful forces in play. Sustainability is a theme that runs through all these mega trends – how do we sustain our climate, our politics, our health? On a macro scale these questions generate vigorous debate but zooming into a small, independent business like Engine the answers are more straightforward.
Technological innovators like Too Good To Go are helping to reduce shocking levels of food waste across society but hotdogs have a short lifespan and are usually made to order so we rarely have significant amounts of food remaining after service. Leftovers either go to staff or are offered to homeless people. In London you don’t usually have to go far to find a hungry person living on the streets.
Our sausages are award-winning and sourced from butchers who take a long view with respect to both the environment and quality (ultimately the same thing). We recognise the environmental pressures generated by livestock farming and are committed to increasing non-meat choices on our menus. We currently offer great vegetarian and vegan hot dogs, a growing percentage of our sales.
Our bakery is local to our East London base and has been run by the same family for over a century, an extraordinary achievement. They continue to supply our fresh-baked rolls early each morning and long may they flourish.
Engine has committed to paying the London Living Wage to all our staff to help make their lives more sustainable. Our intention is to become an accredited LLW employer in 2021 and we have already implemented this policy in practise. We train our staff to be aware of our policies and we welcome their suggestions on how we can further improve our methods and systems.
During lockdown we reviewed every single item we purchase, learning if there are more sustainable alternatives and adjusting our supply chain accordingly. This applies both to our food and to the products used to safely transport, prepare and serve the food.
What does this mean in practise? It means switching to a compostable, plant-based alternative to the ubiquitous plastic food-prep gloves used throughout the catering industry. It means if recycling is not available at our location we provide a recycling solution for our customers. It means using digital marketing and a reusable menu blackboard for each event, reducing our printing to zero. It means using 100% recycled single-use blue rolls (for hygienic cleaning) and napkins (available to customers who want them). We are not plastic-free, yet, but we are heading in that direction.
This policy is reviewed as often as we find an opportunity to improve our sustainability.