Being a sustainable company is something that the majority of restaurants, hotels and bars in the Middle East are trying to work into their strategies. As well as being environmentally conscious in your decision making, such as choosing locally sourced products and recycling all the waste from your outlet, it is important you also consider the sustainability in the outfit of your outlet. The furniture and equipment you choose for your restaurant, bar or indeed hotel, is the first thing the guest sees upon entering, and is something which will stick in their mind when they leave. Therefore, seize the opportunity and make your furniture part of your CSR initiative; source environmentally friendly, durable furniture made from respected and regulated suppliers.
The number one point in sustaining your outlet’s furniture is to ensure every piece is carefully looked after and treated with respect, which is obviously imperative if you want it to last in the long run, especially when customers and guests are constantly using them. Packaging and storing is key to preserving the quality, as well as fixing any repairs as soon as they are noticed. A small tear in the material, for example, may be small and easy to repair now, but if it is left for months of more usage, it will be beyond repair, leading to your company having to repurchase the same product because of simple negligence. It is important that the Middle East, especially large tourist cities such as Dubai, step away from the ‘throw-away culture’ and start adapting more of a ‘mend and make-do’ attitude, which will not only save companies a lot of money, but will help to promote the importance of recycling in the region.
Working with suppliers you trust is also key in ensuring the products you purchase will be sustainable in the long term. You need to make sure they work with the highest standards when it comes to quality, materials and safety. By choosing a well respected brand, such as European brands Fatboy or Slide, for your furniture, you will know that your products are not only made with the best quality and fairly sourced materials, but also have been thoroughly checked for safety.
When purchasing the furniture for your outlet, especially for outdoor use, it is important to have consistency in your products. For example, if you buy a range of chairs for example, make sure they can be easily repurchased and will not be discontinued in a couple of months! Brands such as Fermob from France offer great ranges of outdoor furniture, with the same designs and materials used but in an array of different colours, meaning you can even spruce up your outdoor space by adding multicolours, if you want to. Also it’s important to consider lighting that is rechargeable and LED, rather than candles or electrical lighting, such as the fab range of lights from Imagilights, which add a stylish, modern twist to your outdoor lighting.
As long as the design of your outlet and the furniture and equipment you choose for it are well sourced, durable and well looked after by all employees, there is no reason why the products you purchase will not be extremely sustainable. Do your research before you buy your furniture, as spending a little longer on sourcing now will save you time and money in the future.
Claudia van der Werf is the director of Desert River, a Dubai-based official distributor of well-known European lifestyle brands such as Fatboy, Fermob, ImagiLights and Slide. It supplies its wide range of high quality products to the region’s leading hotels, offices and retailers across the Middle East. In addition, Desert River offers a full-fledged furniture and decoration rental service for high profile events in the UAE.
Originally from Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Claudia graduated from Hotel Management School Maastricht in 1993. Claudia worked in several IT Manager roles for leading hotel brands across Europe including Hilton, InterContinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, before moving to Dubai in 2003.