Sustainabowl creates a “guilt-free dining experience” by making their carbon footprint as close to zero as possible. The innovation is in the unique attention to detail that has led the restaurants to make pivotal adjustments that result in close to no immoral or unnecessary byproducts of consumption. Eventually, the owner hopes to inspire consumers to seek out only “guilt-free dining experiences” and tilt the scale for restaurateurs, namely in the Western hemisphere, to start creating a more sustainable norm.
Loyola Marymount University
The innovation is comprised of many mindful decisions that result in a substantially smaller carbon footprint in comparison to the average restaurant. The restaurant has rid their processes of plastic with the exception of the trash bags which are made from recyclable plastic. All utensils and to-go containers are made from corn starch; this ensures that, once the container reaches a landfill, it will almost immediately germinate. Not to mention, all dine-in customers are given food in reusable, plant-based bowls, usually made from coconut. Beverages are served in metal cups that are reused, resulting in little to no necessity to restock. The restaurant takes advantage of Los Angeles' weather by installing skylights, days in which the lights need to be turned on are few and far between. Additionally, the water pressure of the restaurant is kept as low as possible, including the use of low flow faucets. The owner, Jasmol Singh mentions that the first thing he noticed in American restaurants was the excessive water pressure and the waste that comes with it. Amongst his biggest pet peeves was how water would ricocheted off the dishes due to the pressure, something many people would not have thought about. Finally, their storage system is made up of the same materials bought upon opening and consists mostly of glass bottles.
Sustainabowl’s menu is entirely pescatarian while offering an eclectic array of vegan and vegetarian options. All ingredients are supplied by local farmers as to avoid large corporations who abuse the current state of agricultural economics. Every morning Singh and Sustainabowl employees go to various local farmer’s markets to support the businesses that are working hard to help supply fresh, ethical food to the public. Singh frequents the farmer’s markets of: Marina del Rey, Westchester, Oxnard, Ventura, and Santa Barbara. Buying produce locally cuts down on the transportation emissions that would have occurred had the ingredients been ordered from a big business. The only non-plant-based ingredients are intentionally sourced from highly regulated fishing areas, Fiji and Tahiti, to ensure that Sustainabowl does not “harm the culture of the sea”. Singh has good relationships with his suppliers, and is able to trace the source of a fish down to the person that caught it, as he is in direct contact with every point of transportation; consequently, he is able to ensure that every step of the process is up standards. All food sourcing is intentionally ethical and sustainable in order to align with the company’s mission.
Originally from India, Singh was heavily inspired by the values of his culture and the direct contradiction present in that of American culture. It is important in India “to make use of everything. Everything has value or can be reused or revamped." As a restaurateur, Singh was shocked by the wasteful restaurant behavior in the United States, something he labels a “use & kill” policy. Singh uses Westchester local businesses as a representative for many American restaurants; his largest complaint is their excessive use of plastic. He exclaims, “why give the customer plastic eating utensils to take home to a house where there is already silverware?” He found that this excessively wasteful behavior was prominent not only in restaurants, but also in the US' culture in general. Sustainabowl is built on the desire to create an environment for Americans to have a different option and to ultimately, create a new norm.
In the long term, Sustainabowl is part of a developing culture of truly sustainable options in the restaurant industry. More specifically, those restaurants that focus on ethical and efficient forms of production and consumption, the root of environmental collapse. Sustainabowl helps popularize sustainable forms of eating such as vegan and vegetarianism. The more appealing options that consumers are allotted, the greater the likelihood that they will make environmentally sustainable decisions in their diet. Founded in May of 2018, there is limited research available; it is difficult to quantify the impact of the restaurant. Singh explains that he has yet to calculate their carbon footprint; however, he feels their hyper-minimalist practices speak for themselves when compared to those of other restaurants. There are very drastic differences in the habits of Sustainabowl than those of the restaurants it neighbors, which indicate strong numbers once they are revealed.
Singh has developed a truly unique and passionate business through Sustainabowl. A worthwhile cause is what speaks to consumers the most. There are not many substitutes for a restaurant that is striving to create a more livable future; further, the freshness of the ingredients provides a competitively delicious product. These characteristics not only attract customers, but it keeps them. According to Singh, he has developed relationships with his customers that understand what Sustainabowl stands for. The ability to connect with the brand and build a relationship to the cause is what has contributed to the restaurant’s retention. The main benefit for the founder of the business is just seeing his attempts at a more sustainable life being appreciated. Customers are prone to complaints about the pricing of the menu without full knowledge of its true value; for this reason, Sustainabowl is not as popular as it could be. Singh expresses his unwillingness to conform by stating, “If I wanted to open a business to make money, I would be running Sustainabowl a lot differently." More so, he wishes the public understood the impact of a dollar spent at his restaurant. In a way, the inflated prices are a way of donating to a better future, or at the rate things are going, a future at all. He refuses to use print media due to its wasteful nature, but increased social media presence and the development of a possible cult following could propel Sustainabowl into a very bright future.
Sustainabowl gives consumers an option that is not readily available but very much in demand. The ability to make more sustainable decisions is what creates a more sustainable world. Additionally, the message the restaurant is spreading can open the eyes of its patrons to the possibility that they might be over consuming or consuming unethically; it can open their eyes to the alternate ways of consumption. The company is functioning on very low carbon emissions and waste down to the ingredients used in it products. The long term effects of mindful consumption and production is a longer lasting. Creating a new norm of a “guilt-free dining experience” is not only attractive, but incredibly necessary in the long term for the environment.
Jasmol Singh, Owner
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Los Angeles, California, US
Business Website: https://eatsustainabowl.com
Year Founded: 2018
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
Sustainabowl aims to create a place for consumers to have a delicious meal that is ethically sound.