Gastronomy Future – An Inside Perspective on Sustainable Transformation
By Daniel Stöcklin
Running a catering business economically is a challenge. For many, converting a business into a sustainable one is a seemingly insurmountable task. The Gastronomy Future Basel project initiated by Foodways connects restaurateurs to an ecosystem of sustainability experts. The goal is to lay the foundation for a transformation process and equip restaurateurs with the necessary tools. Whether this is successful is revealed by the participating businesses in an interview.
Mr. Marbach, what importance did sustainability have for you and your company before Gastronomie Zukunft Basel?
Andres Marbach: This topic has accompanied me and my work for almost 10 years. When I made the decision to convert Peppone Catering to Bio-Knospe, it was primarily about producing and offering healthy and, above all, sustainable food. We strongly believe that this is a very good approach to connect catering, agriculture and the end consumer. It is fantastic if we can continuously increase the humus content in the soil by growing food in interaction with farm animals. For me, or rather for us, this is the gastronomic future. And issues such as food waste, transport, packaging and cooking techniques also play an essential role and must be considered and included in the holistic approach.
What was your motivation, Ms. Kelm, to take part in Gastronomie Zukunft Basel?
Katja Kelm: I was convinced by the three-dimensional approach of the project. We longed for a comprehensive assessment of where we are in order to find out where we can improve. At the same time, it is important for us to improve in the area of sustainability and to be able to meet the operational requirements. Gastronomie Zukunft Basel gets to the heart of the overall picture – with food waste measurement, product evaluation and menu planning.
In addition to healthy menu planning and food waste measurement, the project also includes a product evaluation for procurement. What did this show in your operations?
Katja Kelm: It was important for us to get an overview that shows us which products we can make big progress on quickly and easily. The product evaluation has absolutely fulfilled this. Specifically, we see potential for improvement in the area of fish. We take this very seriously and want to exploit it quickly. We are also looking for transparent alternatives to products that did not score so well.
Andres Marbach: There was actually no area that surprised us or that we were not aware of in advance. However, through the survey, we have facts and figures in hand that clearly prove we are on the right track. And that is great! Of course, there were one or two impulses for us to improve even more. We would like to intensify the exchange with the customers – in our case children – and give them an emotional starting point to the products and the food.
Mr. Hügel, when you compare your business: today vs. two years ago – what has changed?
Markus Hügel: The general way in which employees handle food in the company has changed. More and more care is taken to ensure that nothing is wasted. I have also gained the understanding of the residents and their relatives, whom I have made aware of this in discussions.
What feelings do these changes trigger in you and your team?
MH: I am very proud of my team, which implements all this on a daily basis and enjoys what has been achieved here in the past two years. We are also constantly coming up with more ideas about what else we can implement.
Gastronomie Zukunft Basel wants to make businesses fit for the future in the areas of procurement, food waste and nutrition. How do you assess this objective?
Markus Hügel: The project that has been set up and closely supported here is ingenious. A big thank you to all those involved for the work they are doing here. Of course, it is also very time-consuming for the participating companies, but one is all the more pleased with the results once the evaluations are on the table.
Katja Kelm: “It is a good measuring instrument and clearly shows the current status in the most important areas of the catering trade. Having all this in front of your eyes encourages you to question things and look for solutions. We think that one or the other detail in the project process can still be adjusted and are convinced that the project team is working on improvement approaches. In general, however, we are satisfied with our participation.
Katja Kelm: It is a good measuring instrument and clearly shows the current state in the most important areas of the catering industry. Having all of this in front of you encourages you to question things and look for solutions. We think that one or the other detail can still be adjusted in the project process and are convinced that the project team will work out approaches for improvement. In general, however, we are satisfied with our participation.
Operations manager in the Peppone Catering.
Division Manager Gastronomy and Hospitality in the Generationenhaus Neubad.
Katja Kelm and Lucas Boeglin,
Co-managing gastronomy of the Jobfactory Basel AG.
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