Since its inception, Bedu has become the symbol of a modern Middle Eastern cuisine that embodies continuous learning when it comes to integrating sustainability into their business. They always strive to deliver quality food and service, all the while making a positive difference to society and the environment. Growth and change is a very common practice at Bedu, and Laura Offe, the co-founder puts it very simply
“It’s important that we make a change no matter even if it’s a little change. When we all make a little change, then it becomes a lot of changes.”
ROOTS: HOMELY FOOD WITH WORLDLY INFLUENCE
Growing up with a heavy Middle Eastern influence, the sibling duo, Laura and Alex Offe set out on a journey to bring the diverse palate of Middle Eastern culture to the streets of Hong Kong.
“We wanted to do a cuisine that didn’t specifically represent a country in the Middle East, but kind of a melting pot of all the different countries that kind of influence each other.”
The restaurant is built on the fabric of familial influence and personal travel experience, aiming to bring Laura and Alex’s personal experiences into the dishes at Bedu. The unique selling point is the balance Bedu achieves between health and taste, celebrating the cuisine and culture that is at the core of the restaurant.
Middle Eastern food is a fairly healthy cuisine, already being heavily plant based. Bedu ensures to make their menu more plant heavy, thus becoming a favourite for both meat eaters and vegetarians & vegans alike. The menu is designed to make plants the star of many of their dishes, ensuring that taste and sustainability are in balance.
BALANCE: THE COST OF SUSTAINABILITY
Bedu strives to strike the balance between business and sustainability, wanting to show that they are not mutually exclusive. Their unique water filtration system, created by Nordaq (also a FMG member) has allowed them to not only avoid using plastic bottles, but save on costs for storage and logistics of having to order new plastic bottles every day.
“At the end of the day, it’s also making sure that you can fit within your costs. We calculated how much plastic bottles used to cost us, and how much revenue we used to make. And the cost of the filtration system is pretty much in line with that. But of course we are also saving on storage, and on logistics of having to order every day.”
To Bedu, it does not matter if the costs for certain elements are higher: “Sometimes I think you need to follow your values.” For instance, Bedu uses eco-friendly packaging for take-away items and the paper used for their menu is FSC certified, resulting in the total cost going up. Understanding that sustainability comes at a cost, the team at Bedu have creatively and strategically been able to reduce their costs in other green ways.
The biggest way Bedu is able to balance costs is by ensuring the energy and water is efficiently used. This allows the restaurant to balance out the extra cost they face for their sustainable procurement. The staff at Bedu play a big role in making the restaurant more green and are enthusiastic about being part of a greater mission. “Our teams are trained and reminded to be mindful. For example, when they come in the morning, they only turn on specific lights that they need, and they don’t turn on the entire restaurant’s lights. When the restaurant is empty of guests then we try to turn off the music, so that we can control those costs as well.”
Bedu is an important reminder that a business can find innovative solutions to become more sustainable, even if that is making the small changes that can have a big impact.
GROWTH: “WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR NEW SOLUTIONS”
Bedu believes that sustainability is an ongoing and continuous process. There is always something to learn and improve along the way.
Since its inception in 2018, Bedu has learnt a significant amount about sustainability in the hospitality industry – “when you haven’t been doing it from the beginning, or the get go, there’s a lot to catch up on. We all have to start somewhere.” But even so, the team at Bedu have taken it one step at a time, being patient to learn and understand what it means to be a sustainable restaurant. They have been slowly paving the path to becoming more sustainable, all the while making the right business decisions.
A big part of Bedu’s commitment comes with learning and collaborating with organisations that educate about sustainability.
“It is important to exchange ideas and see how to do it better. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about who’s the best at doing it, it’s about ‘how can we all help each other to do it?’”
With what they have learnt, Bedu have been able to showcase to their customers the role they play in helping Hong Kong become more sustainable. Bedu shows that it is completely possible to do smart business, while not compromising on values and sticking to the mission of doing good.
This interview was conducted on May 21st 2021 when we were known as Food Made Good HK, prior to our rebranding to Future Green.