Barge East

Winner of the Best Dining Concept Award, Barge East’s Marketing Director, Greg Swaby, tells all about the exceptional venue in Hackney Wick, detailing the importance to venues of outstanding culinary offerings, as well as the key elements of the team’s success. 

Please tell our readers about Barge East and the venue’s culinary offerings.

Barge East is a unique and sustainable dining destination situated on a repurposed 125-year-old barge, named De Hoop. The venue, located in Hackney Wick, London, offers a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience within a thoughtfully designed and environmentally conscious space. Our culinary offerings embrace seasonality, locality and sustainability, with a constantly evolving menu that follows the British seasons. The restaurant’s commitment to sustainability is reflected, not only in the culinary choices, but also in the repurposing of materials, on-site gardens for produce and a dedication to minimising waste.

How important is it for wet-led venues to offer an exceptional culinary offering, and how has this contributed to Barge East’s overall success?

In the competitive landscape of wet-led venues, offering an exceptional culinary experience is crucial for attracting and retaining customers. Barge East’s success lies in the seamless integration of sustainable thinking for everything we serve, and in the high-quality culinary offerings. The culinary aspect adds a distinctive dimension to the overall experience, making Barge East not just a destination for drinks, but also for a memorable dining experience. This approach has broadened our appeal, attracting a diverse customer base seeking both outstanding beverages and a commitment to sustainable, locally sourced, and seasonal cuisine.

Why do you believe Barge East won the Best Dining Concept Award, and what are some pivotal moments that have led to the venue’s success?

Barge East’s recognition with the Best Dining Concept Award can be attributed to our innovative approach to sustainable hospitality in a unique setting. The repurposing of a historic barge, the commitment to zero-cling film usage and the creation of on-site gardens for produce showcase our dedication to environmentally conscious practices. Pivotal moments include transforming discarded materials into integral features, implementing sustainable procurement practices and consistently reducing our carbon footprint. These efforts, coupled with a focus on engaging the community and creating a memorable customer experience, have set us apart and contributed to our success.

Please share any words of wisdom for aspiring venues looking to excel and be recognised for their food offerings.

For aspiring venues, excellence in food offerings goes beyond taste; it involves a holistic approach. 

We advise venues to commit to sustainability; embrace sustainable practices in your operations, from sourcing ingredients to waste management. Customers are increasingly drawn to environmentally conscious establishments.

Innovation and differentiation are key. Find your unique selling point, whether it’s a distinctive concept, locally sourced ingredients or a commitment to reducing waste; set your venue apart from the rest.

Remember to engage with the community; build relationships with the local community, suppliers and stakeholders. Collaborate with like-minded businesses to amplify your impact and create a positive ecosystem.

Tell Your Story; share your journey, values and initiatives with your customers. Transparency and authenticity resonate, and customers appreciate knowing the story behind their dining experience.

Finally, it is important to embrace change, and stay adaptable to evolving trends. Continuously assess and refine your offerings to meet the dynamic preferences of your audience.

By embodying these principles, venues can not only excel in their culinary offerings, but also contribute to a sustainable and thriving hospitality industry.

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