By Alec Hogg
I’m thoroughly enjoying my latest assignment, travelling South Africa with the Famous Brands team as they update their 500-odd Wimpy franchisees. Among the mostly owner-operated store owners I’ve met was a medical doctor and a chartered accountant; an ex-social worker and a farmer; the owner of a book shop and a former university lecturer. Each with a fascinating story.
There has also been plenty of interesting info in the formal presentations. Especially for an outsider. Like the rule that Wimpy kitchen (“Back Of House”) staff are required to wash their hands every 30 minutes. And how Famous Brands wasted no time reacting to the listeriosis shock, immediately removing all processed ham from the menu on the day Tiger Brands’ scandal broke.
But the most heartening aspect for me is something that’s sure to delight extreme temperature swimmer Lewis Pugh, the UN’s Oceans Ambassador. After securing protected status for the Ross Sea in Antarctica, Lewis is now travelling the world (and doing more sub-zero swims) to highlight the way dumped plastic is hurting marine life.
In support of Pugh’s initiative, Wimpy is to remove all plastic straws from its outlets, replacing them with old-fashioned paper alternatives. Doesn’t sound like much, but considering Wimpy serves 36 million customers a year, its decision will remove hundreds of tons of plastic from circulation, which is significant. Congrats Mr Pugh. Your efforts are bearing fruit. And where Wimpy goes, surely its competitors must follow?