Juniper are delighted to have been awarded the contract for the operation of the restaurant and coffee bar at Dockside 1000 and we had a fantastic grand opening on the 3rd February. If you are based at Dockside or are a visitor there do try and pop down to Project Kitchen 1000 and see what exciting new things we are offering. This new offer is an exciting co-production, with Newham’s teams across Health, Climate Now, waste and the environment, facilities management and organisational development working directly with the Juniper team.
There are some familiar faces and some new ones in the kitchen and front of house teams. For all the staff who have chosen to remain with Juniper, many of whom are Newham residents, it means a 17.2% pay rise across the board. Everyone working within catering will now receive London Living Wage and local government pensions as a minimum. One of the new faces will be two time National Chef of the Year finalist Luciano Lucioli. He has been brought in as Consultant Chef and has worked tirelessly to develop new and exciting menus to meet the needs of the Council and introduce our customers to a range of new exciting and diverse tastes. We are really delighted about welcoming all of the staff into the Juniper family.
Yes. Juniper’s borough wide apprenticeship scheme launches April and the restaurant at Project Kitchen 1000 will be a part of that programme. We are also already exploring opportunities to increase the activation of the space for maximum community benefit. In particular we are excited by opportunities to work with VCS and educational partners, building on work that the Council has completed in their library Smart Cafes supporting those Special Educational Needs.
Increasing access to affordable healthy food for everyone in the borough is a Council priority and of course the food offer at Project Kitchen 1000 is no exception! We have transformed the salad bar and we have made some other changes to improve the quality, freshness and overall experience for users of this popular station along with a new Protein Bar too. A choice of breads are always available to accompany our range of freshly made Chef’s soups. On the Jacket Station and in sandwiches you will have seen more innovative veg packed fillings and in all the hot meals we hope you are impressed with the menu that Luciano and the team have developed - big bold flavourful meals that are as healthy as they are utterly delicious. All of the snacks you see on sale have been approved by the Newham Council’s Healthier Snacks List which is an initiative by the Public Health team to help make it easier for caterers big or small across Newham to put together snack offers that are genuinely healthy. New products are being constantly added to the list once they have analysed for their fat and sugar content.
In addition to a water Refill station by the entrance soft drinks in Project Kitchen 1000 are all Sugar Smart so whether you choose a drink that is one of your five a day or a zero cal version of your usual favourite you will always know that the choice you are making is a smarter one. We have bought high quality speciality coffee into the space and pilot work elsewhere in Newham has found this coffee to be so naturally sweet, balanced and juicy that around 7 out of 10 people who usually put sugar in their coffee find they can enjoy this coffee without it. Everything that the catering team have been working on has been co-produced with the Newham Public Health team and the goal is to make eating healthier choices about food easier than making unhealthy ones.
Over half of the main hot meal choices on offer every month are delicious vegan and vegetarian options and across the soups, salads, sandwiches, jacket potato fillings and snacks we have worked to show that plant based food at its very best. The food we need for people and planetary health can always be delicious, fun and affordable and our mission at Project Kitchen 1000 is to show you exactly how everyday! We are carefully monitoring the uptake of vegan, vegetarian, fish and meat dishes each day to see how the trends in meal uptake fluctuate and to help form future menu choices – results from the first week showed that on some days the vegan and vegetarian options proved more popular that the meal dishes.
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Now everyone visiting Dockside’s Coffee Bar 1000 will be able to enjoy a cup of Newham’s very own Union Coffee - roasted in Star Lane some of the world's very best coffee, pioneers of ethical direct trade and winners of the coveted Allegra European Specialty Coffee Roaster of the Year Award 2018.
Being able to on-board Union Coffee has been just one example of how taking control of the restaurant at Project Kitchen 1000 is going to enable us to anchor our spending with local suppliers and engage local partnerships to make our procurement a multiplier for local industries that are both underpinning our local economy and innovating to create the solutions we need for a sustainable future.
We have added more tills and making improvements to how the space is laid out and flows. We have introduced a “FAST TRAK” till point for peak times and also have staff on hand to take contactless payments from customers in the queues at peak times too ensuring customers have the maximum amount of time to savour their food and enjoy their break times. We have also been investing in the staff team and training to make sure that we are delivering the most efficient service that we can.
We have simplified the tariff and pushed down on some prices in addition to a focus on improving the quality of the food offer - As an example, main meals, including sides, will be just £4.50 daily! We have kept prices as low as possible for the launch but will be constantly reviewing our prices as well as the sales of the various lines we have been introducing.
The team have been working very hard to make sure that whatever your specific needs every day there will be a broad range of choice for you and as we monitor sales of all our lines in the coming weeks we will be in a better position to develop the menus in the future. The availability of Halal meat will continue to operate and the appropriate certificates are on display in the restaurant area.
From Day 1 we have also launched a trolley service that will be visiting offices in the building initially every morning with a range of goods. Pat will normally be steering the trolley and if you have any special requests please let her know and we are sure she will do all she can to accommodate. If the service proves popular there are plans to expand it to the afternoon too.
In addition to work completed to reduce the carbon footprint of the food offer for Climate Now, the project team has been working with colleagues within Newham to address all key environmental challenges. There have been some immediate changes to reduce the impact of our packaging e.g. we have introduced compostable packaging linked to a composting service and better recycling facilities in the space. In the longer term some ambitious innovation and work with suppliers is going to be undertaken as we seek to completely eliminate single use packaging whilst maintaining the quality, safety and efficiency of the operation it takes to serve +2000 covers a day.
Juniper are already at work on achieving Soil Association Food For Life accreditation just as it holds in its existing school catering contracts. Working through this accredited programme will enable us to maximise the use of local suppliers, manage the reduction of food miles, and to ensure that all the food we are sourcing has the highest standards of certification for people, animal and planet. We are at the hands of the Soil Association in the time it takes to be accredited but this will happen as soon as possible.