Small Axe Kitchen
Sustainability is firmly on the menu at this cosy Sydney Road café, which has been serving its customers modern Sicilian fare since 2016. It’s also an important aspect of how things get done at the Small Axe Delicatessen, which opened in 2019.
|Business type||Cafe and restaurant, delicatessen|
|In Moreland since||2016|
Breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinners, Italian-style delicatessen
Awareness of food industry waste and a desire to operate with as small an environmental footprint as possible motivated Small Axe’s owners to appoint their head barista, Danielle, Small Axe’s sustainability officer.
“Danielle is slowly but surely working through each and every one of our processes to see how we can do them more sustainably,” says Kirstyn Tate, who co-owns Small Axe with her husband, chef Adam Pruckner and their friend and business partner, Jas Singh.
This has led to a relationship with Reground, who collect ground coffee chaff and soft plastic waste for reuse and recycling. It’s also prompted a number of in-house innovations, such as saving fennel tops to make relish (rather than composting them) and using milk wastage from coffee production to make ricotta.
Sustainability has been an ongoing focus – one of the longer-term goals Kirstyn and Adam (who oversee the day to day running of the café and delicatessen) had in mind for their business.
Other goals have been to open the Delicatessen, which happened a few blocks away on Sydney Road in October 2019, to build and retain a great team, and to be able to take weekends off.
Small Axe employs approximately 20 people, many of whom have been with the business right from the start. Kirstyn puts Small Axe’s impressive staff retention rates down to fair pay, a strong team ethic, getting to know their staff, and an enjoyable work environment.
“Last year Adam and I were able to step back and have weekends off. This has been hugely important to us, as we have young children who have started primary school, so weekends are family time.”
Kirstyn thinks having reasonable expectations has helped Small Axe to grow at a steady pace.
“When we opened, we knew that not everything we wanted would happen overnight. People sometimes go into a new venture with high or unrealistic expectations and then feel disappointed when they don’t achieve them all quickly; we knew we wouldn’t achieve everything straight away and we were okay with that.”
Some things, however, can’t be predicted.
“Our community is one of the things we’re most proud of. We couldn’t anticipate how it would grow, but we have wonderful customers and staff who we consider genuine friends, that we care deeply about.”
Images courtesy of Small Axe Kitchen.