Reminiscing Novotel S’pore Clarke Quay: our reflections and a chat with sustainability advocate Kelly Wong
contributed by Preston
Some identify the Singapore River as the beginnings of our nation’s business and trade activity. To treatsure, the River holds great significance to our beginnings too as it is the backdrop of one of our pioneer buffet-in-a-box partners, Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay.
Recently, local media reported that the hotel, together with Liang Court which it is adjoined with, will be redeveloped and walk into history sometime in the second quarter this year. We are certain the Hotel’s buffet restaurant The Square will be fondly missed by our team and many regular treatsurers.
One such supportive treatsurer is April, who shared with us she visits The Square Restaurant for a treatsure box meal after her training workouts at nearby Fort Canning Park, bringing a few exercise buddies along each time.
This wonderful collaboration all began in August 2018, when we first received an email from their hotel manager who heard about our innovative platform to reduce buffet wastage. The manager was curious to know more about what we do. Actually, we had barely introduced the buffet-in-a-box concept for under 1 month (Our first partner Grand Hyatt’s launch was just on 1 Aug 2018!). It was thus exciting to hear how another hotel had picked this up from somewhere.
I personally have been to Liang Court many times for Japanese meals. But before this, never had I known there was a rustic hotel with an old-school charm, just adjacent to the shopping mall, serving buffets 7 storeys above ground. And with that began our 1.5 year-long sustainability journey with the hotel by the River.
What I appreciated most was the team’s receptiveness and generosity in working with treatsure. Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay was one of the earliest partners which allowed for exquisite seafood and sashimi to be taken in our box. ZERO restrictions basically on what can be packed away in the treatsure box! The spread was decent and some food items were indeed memorable when we did a tasting.
Also awesome was that their treatsure boxing timings were earlier than our other hotel partners. And they allowed it for a generous ONE HOUR long, giving people ample time to pack. This was because Clarke Quay footfall patterns were unlike those of other hotels in the city.
One point we raised in the early days, however, was the common use of plastic takeaway boxes at that time, but management took serious heed of concerns and showed commitment to phasing out the plastic boxes within a few months. True enough, at the turn of the new year in early 2019, we started to see other sustainable packaging replacing the old plastic boxes at the hotel. All these bold efforts are commendable.
As Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay enters its final months of operations, I took the opportunity to catch up with Kelly Wong, manager of The Square Restaurant before CNY. Kelly has been a strong sustainability advocate and supporter of treatsure and it was very nice to hear her perspectives.
1. So what got you into the hospitality industry and into an F&B role?
Passion. Also, I like to connect and interact with different people and being in the hospitality industry allows me to do so. I enjoy meeting different people and learning about different F&B products.
2. What are your views on food wastage personally as an individual, and your take on hotel food wastage especially given that you oversee a buffet restaurant?
I think that people are now more affluent and thus there is an increase in food wastage. For restaurants, they will still replenish food even near closing period to meet guests’ expectations and this in turn generates more waste.
3. What are your thoughts when you first heard of treatsure in the market? What motivated the hotel to work with treatsure at that early stage when the concept was still new in Singapore with only a few other partners?
I felt that this is a good initiative as I believe most F&B outlets face similar issues in tackling food wastage. By collaborating with treatsure, it helps us to reduce the food wastage for The Square Restaurant and also at the same time create awareness in reducing food wastage.
4. How else is your hotel working towards sustainability?
As part of our commitment to AccorHotel’s Planet 21, our hotel offers sustainable seafood served in our buffet or a la carte menu and removed the use of plastic straws and bottles. In addition, we recycle our coffee grounds by using it as a fertiliser for our plants and herbs that are grown in our yard are used as flavouring or garnishing.
5. Could you share about what’s special about The Square Restaurant that keeps regulars coming back?
Guests enjoy the ambience of the restaurant and The Square Restaurant’s signatures dishes such as the Chilli Crab and Durian Pengat. Our chefs and service crew will also remember our regular guests’ preferences and hence the recognition help us build loyal customers.
6. Any words for treatsure as a pioneer partner as we continue to expand in Singapore and beyond?
This is a very good initiative to help buffet restaurants manage food wastage and do a part in saving the earth. May your expansion get you closer to the values of the company and may the goals you have for this business come to fruition exactly the way you want them.
Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay
The Square Restaurant, Level 7
Available on treatsure
Lunch, 1330–1430 daily
Dinner, 2030–2130 daily