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Grazers focuses on providing healthy and responsibly sourced food to accommodate all food allergies . In addition, they do an excellent job at working with other local businesses to minimize landfill waste. This company is helping to solve Good Health and Well-being, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Sustainable Cities and Communities Sustainable Development Goals.
When Stacey Lasher and Carl Bauer opened up Grazers in 2015 they wanted to make a restaurant where everyone can eat. With this idea they created a menu for customers to build their own wrap, rice bowl, salad, and pita to fit their individual dietary needs. The ingredients available are organic and locally sourced, including ethically raised meat. There are also healthy side options including vegan chili, mac-and-cheese, and hummus. The menu Lasher and Bauer created is suitable for vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, along with other common allergies.
When it comes to waste, Grazers is passionate about thoroughly managing it. All materials used for to-go orders and behind the scenes are biodegradable or recyclable. At the end of the day, employees go through the trash and separate any recyclable contaminants that were misplaced by customers. Customers are also able to bring in their own containers for their orders. Grazers also works hard to minimize food-waste. The little food waste that is generated is brought to Kent Natural Foods co-op to dispose of it in their compost. Additionally, Grazers keeps in contact with Kent’s Sustainability Committee to update them on their sustainable practices in order to encourage other local businesses to do the same.
Before starting Grazers, Lasher and Bauer were elementary school teachers who shared the same challenge. Both struggled to find restaurants that fit their dietary needs while remaining sustainable, affordable, and healthy. Lasher describes her and Bauer’s challenges by stating, “his daughter is peanut allergic, gluten intolerant, and dairy intolerant. He’s allergic to poultry, and I cannot have any food preservatives, so we didn’t have anywhere we could eat”.
After Lasher and Bauer decided they wanted to solve this problem, they asked their friends what kind of a restaurant they would want to see and discovered they had the same problem. They left their teaching positions to create Grazers in 2015 with the company statement of “fresh identifiable ingredients served in their healthiest possible forms”. In addition to this statement, they made sure that all dietary restrictions could be accommodated. Lasher states, “no matter how severe your allergies are, you can find something to eat here”. Bauer goes on to state that his favorite quote to tell people is, “if you have a mouth, you can eat here”.
It is safe to say that Grazers has met their goal of providing healthy and fresh food for every dietary restriction. On top of this goal, they have managed to make a positive impact on the environment, the community, and their customer’s wellbeing. Grazers is a company who enjoys going the extra mile to make sure that they are serving quality food and leaving a little to no footprint while doing so. This way of doing business has inspired other individuals and businesses in Kent to follow along. Overall, Grazers has made an impact on solving Good Health and Well-being, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Sustainable Cities and Communities Sustainable Development Goals.
A company like Grazers is beneficial to the Kent community because it offers fresh, clean food to the average college student who may not be able to afford other restaurants on a daily basis. One can see that the options surrounding Kent are limited to your typical fast food chains, making it difficult for those with dietary restrictions to go out to eat. In response to this, the business benefits by attracting many loyal customers who appreciate their efforts. Another benefit provided by Grazers is the knowledge each worker holds. When selecting their employees, the owners, Stacey Lasher and Carl Bauer, look for an individual passionate about sustainable practices, as well as a healthy diet. From a more personal perspective, both owners are affected in some way by dietary restrictions. So, both know exactly what they need to do in order to provide the best food possible for their customers. They know where they get their food from, how it’s made and how to properly dispose the scraps at the end of the work day.
Since Grazers opened up their doors in 2015, there has been substantial evidence of improvement within the area. More restaurants are offering gluten free/ vegetarian/vegan options and are more outspoken on the importance of recycling. Co-Op’s are more popularized and they are now using cornstarch for their to-go packaging, rather than Styrofoam. Also, when dining inside, they are working towards using upcycled china plates, which in the end saves them a couple hundred dollars a month.
From an environmental standpoint, every action counts. Each employee at the end of the night goes through the trash to make sure recycled items end up in the right bin. They are also introducing reusable straws, containers and paper bags into their restaurant as a way to combat any excess waste. Lastly, they work closely with the local Kent Co-Op, so that way they are able to use their compost.
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Stacey Lasher, Owner
Carl Bauer, Manager
Grazers, as their slogan describes, provides "A Better Way to Eat" with options for vegetarians, vegans, and those with gluten allergies. This business also focuses on organic/locally sourced ingredients and responsibly manages their waste. Grazers opened up in 2015 in downtown Kent, and now has a second location in the Kent State University's food hub.