This post was written by Rosie Glade, the newest worker owner at W/N W/N. This piece reflects her values, passions, and motivations for serving quality coffee, booze, and food. Cheers.
Restaurants are a lot of work to run, and to run them in a way that minimizes waste can triple the labor. When I worked at an espresso bar, if we ran out of a syrup, we just cracked open a fresh can and refilled the pump. When we created fruit scraps from the parfaits we assembled, we tossed it in the trash to be magically whisked away by a "waste management" truck.
At W/N W/N the commitment to minimizing waste is present in small and subtle ways but adds up to many additional hours of labor. But don't get it twisted, it's a labor of love.
Instead of buying our syrups from sources that add chemical preservatives to maintain absurdly long shelf lives, we make our syrups from fresh ingredients and monitor their production dates closely. Our ginger syrup is made from raw ginger roots, the tonic syrup from cinchona bark, the lemon juice is squeezed daily from lemons with our own hands. Our herbs and barks are sourced from Frontier Co-op, a sustainable and ethical purveyor of which we are a member. After playing their integral role supporting our collective love for the Cocktail, these herb scraps go into our compost bins with the rest of the kitchen scraps. Our compost bins are tucked into a bike trailer and trundled up and over to Greener Partners Farm at Guild House West, an urban farm that graciously receives our organic offerings to support the cycle of growth and provide local healthy veggies to residents of the Poplar West neighborhood.
At most businesses, this level of labor gets axed pretty quickly. Labor hours are the most expensive cost to bear and eats into profits dramatically. While we at W/N W/N want to be compensated reasonably, we also understand that we are living in a moment in which bottom line profit seeking is self indulgent and can't be entertained if we want to survive together. We crunch the numbers, but also factor in more qualitative measures that are usually tossed aside in the quest for profit. This additional labor time might slow immediate profits, but will pay off in the long term as it contributes to a healthy environment of fresh food, drink, and a sustainable local economy. We care about where we came from, and we care about giving back. Our goal is to create a sustainable economic model that supports our workers' dignity and development of strong community. Instead of massive profits, we are committed to providing a new standard for doing business.