Cape Town Cafe Moves Towards Biodegradable Products

This winter we are focusing our attention on “Putting a Freeze on Plastics” that’s why we partnered with the fabulous Sidewalk Cafe for our new winter warmer shoot (aren’t our pics great?). It was a wonderful day, filled with excellent coffee, delicious food and plenty of laughs.

The Sidewalk Cafe are in the process of moving away from plastic and we wanted to hear more about their process. Plus, we were curious about what makes this beloved Cape Town nook tick. We sat down with the venue’s operations manager, Mojo, to get the low down on this exciting new direction for the friendly Vredehoek favourite. (And yes, Mojo is his real name – he says it helps to make him memorable in the industry.)

Photo of the interior counter of the Sidewalk Cafe with arty objects and plants  A woman eating soup from a biodegradable bowl and spoon at the Sidewalk cafe counter

The Social Media Factor

First up, we asked what motivated them to start giving single-use plastic the boot.

Mojo flagged the role social media is playing in changing perceptions. “The movement keeps growing. An increasing amount of content is circulated about the impacts of plastic pollution and we can only look away for so long. When we do open our eyes, we realize that things have to change.”

Social media also gets people talking. Mojo mentioned that industry insiders are having more conversations about what kinds of cups and straws are being used. People are testing sustainable products to see what works well and comparing notes. “We’re talking about it in the industry. We feel responsible and want to do our bit.” he said.

Close up of coffee machine with biodegradable coffee cup & 'I heart my hood' sticker  The barista smiling at the camera while handing coffees over to customers

“People Love it!”

So how are customers responding to the Sidewalk Cafe’s shift toward compostables? “People love it!” “They appreciate the fact we’re making an effort,” said Mojo. And he feels better too. When he calculated the quantities of straws and coffee cups they go through, it was eye-opening. He feels good about reducing that impact.

He’s also noticing changes in  customer behavior, with more of their customers bringing in their own reusable coffee cups for their take-away fix. People are becoming more aware of their footprint.

The Sidewalk Cafe are also working with their suppliers to reduce plastic in their deliveries, getting in unpackaged goods instead. And they have other sustainability practices too. Like choosing sustainable fish from the WWF Sassi list and serving organic meat.

A man and woman sitting on steps at Sidewalk cafe eating food from biodegradable takeaway containers  Woman holding biodegradable coffee cup against bright blue wall and under a 'Sidewalk Cafe' sign

“We’re Celebrating Diversity Everyday”

The Sidewalk cafe has an eclectic and laid-back style, with plenty of creative flair and a good dash of indulgence. The menu has something for everyone, with lots of delicious options from breakfast through dinner.

Their eclectic style is also expressed through their people. They love embracing difference and ask nothing more of they employees than to be authentically themselves. In fact, encouraging their staff to let their personalities shine through is a principle of employment. “We’re celebrating diversity every day,” Mojo said with a smile.

This attitude leads to an environment where it’s easy to relax and have a good time. When we asked Mojo for three words to describe the Sidewalk Cafe vibe he chose: “Laid back, beach-house vibes and coffee haven.” (While he totally cheated with all those double barrels, they do sum up the atmosphere perfectly.)

And finally, we had to ask Mojo what his three favorite picks from the menu are. He reckoned the Nachos are always a winner and fantastic to share with friends and a drink. If he’s having dinner, he loves the organic sirloin or the fish of the day.

A waiter at the Sidewalk Cafe holding two coffees to go in compostable cups with biscuits on top  Mojo smiling during the interview, inside the Sidewalk cafe

A Match Made in Heaven

GREEN HOME is committed to leading the way in making plant-based food packaging the norm. When we get to work with amazing businesses like the Sidewalk Café, who are also aligned to this vision, it proves to us that we are moving in the right direction.

Our time chatting to Mojo confirmed that South African businesses are listening to their customers and their customers are asking for more sustainable and eco friendly options.

The power inevitably lies in the hands of the consumer and the more the market demands and requests GREEN options, the more they will be supplied.

A massive thank you to Mojo and his incredible team at the Sidewalk Café, it is a pleasure to be doing business with you.