Oakman Inns & Restaurants-owned the Akeman in Hertfordshire has been awarded a Sustainability Star Rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), with particular recognition for its community engagement and staff benefits.
The Akeman's training programme and benefits were positively highlighted, as was its use of local, sustainable products, and for its community engagement in the surrounding area. Not only does it use grass-fed beef and lamb, free-range poultry and eggs, and Fairtrade tea and coffee, the restaurant also serves as a meeting venue for local groups, including charities or school meal fundraising initiatives.
The kitchen's flexibility when it comes to customer requests - for example, offering vegetarian or healthier options, as well as special children's and gluten-free menus â' was also praised.
One of eight Oakman properties, the Akeman opened in 2007 and serves a wide variety of British and Mediterranean-inspired dishes throughout the day. It places particular emphasis on meat and fish, and uses a charcoal Josper oven to give food a lightly smoked taste.
Peter Borg-Neal, chief executive of Oakman Inns & Restaurants, said: "I am so proud of our team at The Akeman. It was the first restaurant we opened, and the staff has been at the heart of creating many of our policies on sustainability. It's fantastic to see these efforts recognised and rewarded."
The SRA uses 14 points of criteria to judge the sustainability of restaurants, and ranks its members as one, two or three star sites depending on their score.
It aims to enable customers and restaurants to make sustainable choices when it comes to produce, techniques and community engagement, and considers factors such as food waste, staff training, local food and seasonal ingredients. The Akeman is currently ranked as a one star establishment.