Economics, pizza and bees
If you have been reading my blog, you will know that one of my intentions is to celebrate businesses and their charitable contributions to our society. Suzanne and Dominic Fielden run the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co., a pizza chain that combines fresh, healthy food with extensive community involvement. Suzanne and Dominic come from a background of consulting for major corporations on sustainability and environmental matters. When they decided to open a restaurant in Canmore Alberta with the goal of making healthy, delicious pizzas, they wanted to include positive social and environmental goals as part of their mandate. And when they moved to Vancouver they brought the same commitment with them. To date, they have not only opened two more restaurants in Vancouver (one being a franchise) and set up complementary catering and wholesale pizza businesses, they have found new ways to work within their new community.
They are founding members of The Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Program and the Green Table Network. Their carbon neutral restaurants have zero waste integrated menus, compost wherever possible, and use organic local produce, free-range meats, biodegradable take-home containers and green electricity. These green initiatives earned them the Better Business Bureau’s 2009 award as the “Best Green Business” in Vancouver.
Suzanne is the first to admit that being a green business means increases in Rocky Mountain Flatbread’s costs. To offset the higher costs, they made their menus seasonal, source their food locally and ensure that nothing is wasted. The restaurants are used in non-peak periods to produce pizzas for their wholesale and catering entities which allows them to run three businesses with the same assets. And their work in the community creates goodwill and pays back dividends as the community recognizes and supports their endeavours.
The Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company Education Society, a non-profit society operated by Rocky Mountain Flatbread, sets them apart from other businesses. Through this organization and dedicated volunteers, including a number of their staff, they run classroom-based programs, including “Local Heroes”, Responsible Entrepreneur” and “Earth Bites”. They are also quick to respond to the needs of their patrons. This year they are developing more gluten-free menu items as more people are developing intolerances to gluten.
They have managed not just to help their community but, in Suzanne’s words, they have shown that businesses can thrive while taking responsibility for positive environmental and social impact.
You might well wonder what pizza has to do with bees. Next blog ….. the bees.