Category Archives: Starbucks

Sustainable Packaging: What’s New?

 

Renewables and reusables were among the new packaging product highlights at the recently concluded NRA (National Restaurant Association) annual show in Chicago.

Among the highlights, as reported by Restaurant Hospitality, were:

A unique system of reusable plastic containers from Ozzi, based in New Kingstown, R.I. This four-year-old company’s latest products are designed to eliminate the need for disposables. Ideal for foodservice programs at universities, military bases, corporate campuses or other settings, the system includes an automated collection box, where guests can return the sturdy, bright-green containers after use.

Ozzi2

If not returned, the guest is charged $5 per container. The containers are washed, sanitized and returned to the foodservice outlet. They can be reused up to 300 times (and at the end of their life they are shredded and recycled into yogurt cups). Ozzi officials said about 100 college campuses across the country are using the system, and some cities, like Truckee, Calif., for example, are starting to launch programs for restaurants.

minima

Minima, based in Taiwan, supplies compostable straws to chains like Starbucks. New this year, however, is a compostable to-go straw that comes in clear plastic-film wrapper, and that wrapper is also compostable. Minima also makes a line of compostable cutlery free of bisphenol A, or BPA, an industrial chemical in polycarbonate plastics that can leach into food, as well as various other alternative plastics for things like toothbrushes, sunglass frames and packaging tape.

ecoguardian

>             Canada-based Eco Guardian has a new line of Lock n’ Go compostable containers with tabs that glue closed to prevent delivery drivers from tampering with food, which has become a growing concern. Several packaging manufacturers at the show said they also were working on tamper-proofing features for their products.

Eco Guardian’s containers are made from sugarcane fiber or bamboo, with the option of both clear and non-transparent-fiber lids or base. Rather than a hinged clamshell, these containers are separate pieces, which creates less waste if used for dine in, when a hinged top might not be necessary.

That gives operators the option of putting two clear containers together, for example, for a cold item, or two fiber pieces together for something hot — or they can put a clear lid on a fiber base to mix and match. All are certified compostable, including the glue on the tamper-proofing tabs.

>             Japan-based Stalk Market has a new line of certified compostable plates and serving platters designed for dine in called Wasara, made from sugarcane, bamboo and reed pulp.

More like sculpture, these attractive pieces are designed to reflect the elegant lines of Japanese architecture. There are no lids, but they are stackable to create stunning pinwheel-like presentations.

Eco Products, of Boulder, Colo., was promoting its compostable cutlery, including a new line with no added PFAS to comply with upcoming standards. In addition, the company debuted its new “Cutlerease” dispenser that serves up knives, forks or spoons one at a time, with another popping neatly into its place. This eliminates waste and sanitation issues created around traditional cutlery holders which can appear cluttered and messy.

hay_straws

>             Hay! Straws makes biodegradable straws made from straw stems, a biproduct of wheat production after the grain is harvested. The stems are rinsed, soaked, washed and air dried to create a straw that functions just like plastic, and can be used in hot and cold drinks. New from the San Francisco-based company this year is the addition of three new sizes: Jumbo, Jumbo XL and Boba Hay straws, which are designed for beverages that are thicker and chunkier, like smoothies, shakes or boba teas.

>             Making its first appearance at the show is the recently launched Butterfly Cup, a paper cup that folds into a modified sippy cup of sorts, eliminating the need for plastic lids or straws, though some models include a straw hole, if desired. The Spartansburg, S.C.-based company offers a compostable version that is currently BPI-certified, though CEO Ackshay Vashee said they are working on meeting the new standards for next year.

>             Georgia Pacific was showing off what it calls the first disposable Dixie cup made from 100% recycled post-consumer fiber. In addition, the company also demonstrated its prototype auto-sealing beverage system that puts a sealed leak-proof lid on cups to prevent delivery drivers from taking a sip while the beverage is in transit.

 

The Best Reason For Fast Feeders To Up Wages in Corporate Stores

cook station-mcdonalds

Even before election day in the U.S. was – thankfully! – fast approaching, a number of fast food chains were anticipating the success of minimum-wage-raising ballot initiatives in various states … and going ahead on their own to better compensate their workers.

An article today (Oct. 31) in South Florida Business Journal (and, no doubt, in other publications from the same company), before noting that both McDonald’s and Starbucks had recently announced raised wages for workers in company-owned stores, cited perhaps the best reason for other companies to make similar moves: The paper quoted Sonic Drive-In CEO Cliff Hudson as saying his company expects to improve sales by paying managers higher wages and hiring more full-time workers and, as or more important, he anticipates the company’s action will encourage the franchise owners of 95% of Sonic locations to follow his lead.

Business Insider noted that while such initiatives may seem counter-intuitive for a business that depends on low-cost labor in an industry where thin profit margins make it difficult for franchisees to either up wages or cover health care insurance, Sonic’s Cliff Hudson says that his company’s research has proved that investing more in labor is necessary if the chain wants to compete in a crowded industry.

“We’re just trying to show [franchisees] this can be a win-win deal, if it’s done right and it’s done well,”  Hudson  said, referring to the chain’s plan to increase its number of full-time employees.

With 95% of Sonic locations being franchises, Hudson can’t automatically raise wages at Sonic restaurants. However, he said, the company can try and convince franchisees that doing so would be financially beneficial. Hudson said raising wages was a major topic of discussion at the company’s annual franchisee meeting in September.

There’s also the argument that better-paid workers should be happier in their jobs and, thus, be more likely to provide better customer service. Similarly, better-paid managers would, you’d think, be motivated to work harder at find ways, within their limited playbooks, to encourage workers in that (better customer service) direction.

And if raising wages for workers and managers leads to marginal increases in prices to customers, let’s be realistic: Most people who regularly eat fast food aren’t going to be put off by a nudge up in the price of a burger, fries or a soft drink. Most of those customers are in the fast food place in the first place for one of two reasons: Either they don’t see themselves have a choice or where or how to spend their food dollar, and/or they simply like the food.

Starbucker ‘Exploded With Kindness’ At NYC Bomb Scene

nyc-bombing

A former colleague, Kevin Coupe, publishes a blog for executives involved primarily in food retailing. He posted the following item this morning:

It has gotten a lot of attention in the media, but one almost cannot focus on such acts of kindness too much.

It was Sunday night in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, where an apparent terrorist attack resulted in an explosion rocked several blocks and resulted in the wounding of 29 people. As first responders came to the scene, an employee from a nearby Starbucks who identified himself only as Jermaine also showed up, and he passed out bags of pastries and cups of coffee to the police and fire department personnel at the scene.

“I wish I could give a little more,” Jermaine told the officers.

But Jermaine’s act was more than just an act of kindness. It was proof that even in moments that can reflect the worst of what humanity can do, there is the opportunity for people to show the best of themselves.

Sort of like the Standard High Line, a local hotel, which CNN reports “opened up its rooms to residents living within the attack area. In a Facebook post, the hotel said residents would proof of address could also eat for free.”

This story has, in fact, received a lot of publicity — undoubtedly providing a huge amount of goodwill for Starbucks. And well it should!

One of the things that has helped Starbucks grow and prosper over the the years is the company dedication to employee training, with an emphasis on serving two clients: The person in front of the counter, and the ‘bean counters and co.’ who own the business.

Kevin’s blog hammers hard on the importance of that kind of management mind set. Germaine in New York City clearly takes it as much to heart as his employer does.