Daily grind changes shape for Torquay baristas

April 16, 2020 BY

Ocean Grind axed single-use coffee cups last August. Photo: TIMOTHY MARRIAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

AS AUSTRALIAN cafes stop accepting reusable cups in a move to prevent transmission of coronavirus, a Surf Coast coffee roastery is working hard to maintain its commitment to reducing waste.

Ocean Grind’s Mark Clatworthy axed disposable cups in August of last year and said he and his team were implementing new strategies, including reducing the cost of its HuskeeCup system, to ensure this change was not undone during the pandemic.

Mr Clatworhy said customers brought in their used HuskeeCup and walk away with a new cup that had been commercially cleaned and sanitised.

“We’d already implemented the HuskeeCup system but only a small portion of our customers were doing that – most were bringing their own personal cups.

“So we decided to offer the swap and go HuskeeCup system at a low price to encourage people to get on board with it. It’s a $5 upfront, one-off fee to get into the system. The reasoning there is it meant baristas were only handling clean and sanitised cups and not people’s personal, reusable cups.

“We had a team meeting about it, and I’m really grateful they were all on board with this. We didn’t want to sacrifice our values. We’d done a lot of hard work to shift the behaviour towards reusable cups and we didn’t want to undo that work and create bad habits again.”

Mr Clatworthy said the next phase involved clearing out the venue on Sawmills Way and installing line markings where people could safely que up to order their coffee.

The cafe trialled serving coffees out of Felix the Van last week but has since decided against this.

“You can actually discover opportunities through this (the pandemic). One thing we’ve been pushing harder is the free home delivery service for coffee bag orders over $20, and then I’ve also been doing super express postage for all our Australia wide deliveries as well.

“The online sales and delivery has been a push for us, and that way with the deliveries I’m actually keeping a couple of baristas in work because they’re out on the road delivering coffee.”

Mr Clatworthy is now working towards initiating a swap and go system for Ocean Grind’s coffee tins, with the aim to reduce coffee packaging for beans and ground coffee.

“Now that we’ve ramped up the home deliveries, we’ve had a bit of feedback that people would be keen to swap their tins. We’ll have them washed and sanitised and people will leave their tin out and we’ll swap it over,” he said.

He also said he understood why other Surf Coast cafes were serving hot beverages out of single-use cups but hoped business owners were giving some “serious thought” to other alternatives.

“We’ve found it very difficult weighing up the moral dilemma of staying open with regards to social responsibility versus keeping some of our baristas employed. We thought if we can do things safely, keep some staff in employment and maybe make a few people’s day with a caffeine hit, then we’re okay with that,” he said.

The roastery and café is located at 10b Sawmills Way, Torquay. For more information, head to oceangrind.com.au or facebook.com/OceanGrind.

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