London pub group Drake & Morgan recently received a maximum three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The company's founder, Jillian MacLean, speaks to Janie Manzoori-Stamford
Congratulations on the three-star SRA rating. Was that always the ultimate goal?
We work extremely hard to be sustainable on all levels but we didn't expect to score quite so highly. We're absolutely delighted and we're honoured to be part of the SRA, an excellent organisation transforming restaurant operations across the UK.
How do you achieve consistency across a multi-site operation?
This is something we put a lot of focus on daily. We have an excellent team who ensure our venues closely follow sustainable practices and we have training programmes and initiatives in place so this continues.
You scored 97% - more than any other organisation - in the "society" section. How did you achieve this?
We offer a variety of initiatives designed to enable individuals to grow within our company. Training programmes include the "gift of service", which likens service to a gift, and benefits for all the team include healthy meals, the opportunity to travel on regular "innovation trips", gym memberships, a cycle-to-work scheme and childcare vouchers. We also support national charities and local community initiatives, including Breast Cancer Awareness, Hauser Bears and the Kids Company.
Tell me about the company's ethos on product sourcing.
We like to source fresh, seasonal ingredients as locally as possible. Our first restaurant, the Refinery, opened in Bankside, close to Borough market, where we get a lot of our ingredients from. Many of these suppliers have been with us since the beginning. We also like to use Fairtrade ingredients and have plans to grow edible flowers and herbs on a recently purchased allotment.
Does operating responsibly have a positive impact on trade?
Definitely. Operating in this way ensures our teams are happy in their working environment, which in turn ensures customers get the best experience possible. Customers also seem to appreciate our dedication to things like sourcing responsibly.