The idea of living a zero-waste lifestyle can seem daunting – even more so when creating a restaurant business.
But, for Jessica Waite, CEO of Oceanside plant-based restaurant, The Plot, the idea ties in seamlessly with the business’ mission to be plant-forward and source responsibly.
“If you are bringing in fish or meat, you might be dealing with a lot of different plastics. If you’re just bringing plants from local farmers, that cuts down on a lot of the packaging and then-- it kind of just made sense for where we wanted to go for the environment and human health,” said Jessica Waite, CEO of The Plot.
Waite studied psychology and biology at Cal State San Marcos and had plans to go into a job in healthcare. But, after an internship at a local hospital, she realized she wanted to play a more preventative role in people’s health – using restaurants as her platform.
“A lot of health comes from how the food is grown too-- not just what happens when you make those choices of what you’re going to eat, but actually the products themselves. Whether or not the vegetables are grown in a way that optimizes the nutrition if they’re grown in healthy soil and if they’re not put in a truck and driven across the country,” said Waite.
Jessica partnered with her then-boyfriend, now-husband, David Waite – also the Executive Chef at The Plot. The two opened up other restaurants before Jessica Waite developed a business plan for The Plot.
For the team at The Plot, the idea of reducing waste involves getting creative in the kitchen and using every piece of produce that comes through their doors.
“We don’t bring anything into the restaurant that is destined for a landfill. One of those things is direct sourcing, making sure our vendors are responsible and not using excess packaging in everything—having things coming in locally that haven’t been trucked across the country. But then also looking at our operational strategies from the perspective of – What are we using? And, how much of it are we using? Let’s try to use that whole plant,” said Waite.
Waite isn’t branding the restaurant as completely zero-waste. There are challenges, especially with plastics, that the restaurant owners are trying to overcome. But, the owners are on the right track.
“Use the whole product first, that’s our first priority. Then, if there’s anything that needs to be composted, we compost. If there’s anything that we recycle, we recycle. So, like a wine bottle, most of our wine bottles we’re taking the labels off and using them for water carafes,” said Waite.
The Plot is joining a new revolution of incoming restaurants popping up in Oceanside. Oceanside is home for the Waites. It’s also a city that Waite says has been incredibly supportive through the process of opening the new business.
Waite hopes to expand the restaurant idea into a chain in San Diego and Orange County. But, the main goal? Giving locals a great place to eat.
“It’s not about trying to create something where we tell people how to eat or tell people how we feel they should interact with the environment or their food or whatever, we just want to create a great place for them to come together, celebrate food, enjoy each other and just have a really good meal,” said Waite.