Last summer, we received the wonderful news that our Bristol restaurant achieved SKA Gold – we were thrilled with the news (obviously!), but, in general terms, what does it mean to our staff, who work tirelessly in our sites, and to our customers, who sometimes are willing to wait two hours to get a table and enjoy some tacos and margaritas?
This all comes back to sustainable development, a concept that, although is almost 30 years old, is shaping the way businesses work, good practices are set and societies in the world work together for one common goal: preserving natural resources, economy and culture for future generations to enjoy in the same way we enjoy them now.
Sustainability has always been part of the core values at Wahaca. Since we opened our first site in Covent Garden we have been keen on using materials that are ethically sourced, like Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) wood on our tables, or materials that have multiple uses, like cork as a heat retainer and soundproof in our Stratford branch. We also ensure that all of the timber specified for each new restaurant fit out is sustainably sourced – it is either FSC or PEFC certified or is reused/ reclaimed – this applies to all construction timber, as well as every chair and table and all loose ancillary furniture; we also work with local farmers and markets to get the freshest and most delicious ingredients without having to worry about increasing our CO2 footprint due to transportation.
At our most recent opening in Liverpool, we reused signage from Wahaca Manchester, put down artificial grass on our stunning roof-top bar made of 100% recycled plastic and re-used existing blocks of glass for the bar counter from a wall that was taken down.
In terms of water usage and lighting, we have a strong policy of training our staff into turning lights and water taps off when they’re not in use; at the same time, the staff areas and toilets have movement sensors, which means they automatically turn off when no one is around and our water taps and WCs are all fitted with flow controllers, which limit the flush to 4.5 litres.
As our company grows with time, new sustainability requirements will arise and we will do whatever we can to implement them in new sites, as well as giving our older sites a little refurbishment to get up to standard. We know there is always room for improvement and we love all new ideas our staff come up with. Whenever you visit our amazing Bristol site or any of our other beautiful restaurants, tuck in safely, because your food will cost little to the environment and we make sure that has happened from day one and continues to happen, no matter how big we get.