Lots of folks “talk the talk” when it comes to sustainability and other impact issues. Here are some details about how we do things at Mamuska Restaurants Limited, so you can assess our CSR record as a small operator trapped in an antiquated location. We believe this record illustrates how much more we can achieve as we move forward into newer facilities.
All waste materials from our first build in 2009 were segregated by load and delivered to the council recycling centre. We used Freecycle to outfit ourselves with tables and chairs, and once the build was complete we posted all our excess building materials on Freecycle for others to use.
We use micro-fibre cleaning solutions that dramatically reduce chemical and paper usage. Wherever possible, we utilise organic pest control solutions. Everyone has to deal with the occasional nuisance, but we have a completely natural spray from tree bark to get rid of fruit flies, static traps with natural ingredients, and we use a low-wattage electronic noise-emitting device to keep the rodents away.
Perhaps most significantly, unlike the flurry of quick service restaurants on the rise, we use real plates and glassware for guests that dine in. It is more expensive for us and makes it difficult to compete with competitors who have less labour by wrapping food in paper and plastic, but the result is reduced land fill and less negative impact on our natural environment.
Mamuśka! uses corn starch cutlery, coffee cups and smoothie glasses. We have used aluminium foil for hot meals for the first five years, but have recently discovered that although these are recyclable, they are not actually recycled in practice in most London boroughs. Aluminium manufacture is also a heavy polluter. We have therefore switched to a reusable and microwavable PPL container, as no CPL leak-proof and heat-proof container is yet available on the market.
Most our food is not deep fried, so our waste oil volume is minimal. What waste oil we do produce (about 30 litres per month) is collected by a supplier recycler via a rebate system.
And finally, we proudly separate at source and thoroughly recycle throughout the business, and are constantly searching for new waste handling firms and solutions to help us achieve a smaller carbon footprint.
We have used free range eggs exclusively since opening in January 2010.
We pay everyone on the books. While other independent operators make more profits than us by paying staff less than minimum wage, in cash, under the table, we pay our fair share of NI, as do our team members, who also pay income tax.
With hourly bonus (almost always awarded) we pay Service Stars over £8.00 per hour, Super Chefs £9.00 per hour and Kitchen Heroes (called kitchen porters in lesser establishments) up to £7.70 per hour. We pay full holiday pay via a calculated accrual system, and unlike others in the industry, actually organise ourselves to let staff take holiday, without being forced to resign in order to have a proper break from work.
We arrange our terms with our suppliers and pay on time, in most cases once a month in the first 10 days of the month for everything invoiced in the previous month.
Sponsorship and community engagement
We have donated money and food to homeless aid organisations, amateur theatre groups, community art festivals, Polish cultural events and local Elephant and Castle community organisations.
Mamuśka! even sponsors a women’s volleyball team (although we have to admit that pays back ten-fold when the players come to visit us).
We understand that corporate social responsibility, practically speaking, begins with our team members and involves everything and everyone we touch.
Sustainability is more than our physical world (important though as that is). It is about ensuring our total impact is ‘net positive’.
Employee care, energy consumption, supplier co-operation, chemical reduction, animal welfare and waste reduction are a few ways we try to ensure our sustainability picture looks good, but we try to stand back and examine that view of our place in the world regularly.
Ethics are not size-dependent, but as we grow we know that the team at Mamuśka! will be ever-more empowered to achieve our sustainability and other CSR KPIs, which are critically connected with our mission and values.
By 2018 Mamuśka! will be the brand loved by all for having delivered delicious, healthy, affordable and authentic Polish meals to existing and new markets all over the UK.
Polish food will take its place amongst the standard options to consider when people in the UK and Europe ask themselves, “Where shall we go for lunch?”, “Where should we grab a quick bite to eat?” and “Where shall we meet up with the gang for dinner tonight?”
And Mamuśka! will be the first brand that comes to mind when that happens.