One of the questions I’m asked frequently by reporters is some version of "Is Bon Appetit’s model of sustainability scalable?" Well, we’ve taken a big step towards answering that query with a resounding "yes!"
Our purchases from local farmers or artisans have topped $55mm annually. That’s up 80% from our previous year’s $30mm. Bon Appetit’s model of empowering our chefs and managers to connect with local purveyors and source fresh ingredients is working. We have been able to support the communities in which we operate, provide our guests with great tasting, local food and maintain profitability. This is a trifecta that many doubted was possible. Naysayers suggested we would have to turn to organic agribusiness and low cost overseas producers to keep up with our growth. That local purchasing could not be done on a large scale.
I think we’ve proven that with the right team, a large scale company can make key purchasing decisions locally. The success of our Farm to Fork program (the formal company wide initiative to buy locally) hasn’t come easy. It takes an incredible commitment from our people in the field who are tasked with searching out local producers, establishing relationships and reacting to the unpredictability of small scale agriculture. However, rather than see it as a hardship, our staff has embraced the challenge and exceeded our company wide goal of 20% of purchases coming from within 150-miles of the kitchen. Hopefully that will put the doubt to rest.
Here’s a copy of the press release with more details… Download 55mm_in_local_purchases.pdf
– Maisie Greenawalt, Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives