Three Blue Ducks

Three Blue Ducks

Number of bottles saved so far: 65,000

Who we chatted with: Chris Sorrell

Time in the the coffee/hospitality industry: 8 years

Business Name: Three Blue Ducks

Byron Bay – 11 Ewingsdale Road, Ewingsdale; (02) 6684 7795
Bronte – 141-143 Macpherson Street, Bronte; (02) 9389 0010
Rosebery – 1/85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery; (02) 9389 0010
Brisbane – Level 3, W Brisbane, 81 North Quay Brisbane; (07) 3556 8833


Who am I?

Chris Sorrell and I was born in Sydney. Four years ago, I moved up to Byron Bay and opened up a restaurant at ‘The Farm’ – an 80-acre property in a beautiful area of the region called Ewingsdale.

What made you decide to go into business as a cafe owner?

The decision to be a restaurant/cafe owner was by chance. It just seemed like a good idea at the time and I was involved with some really good people. So, we dove straight in and got it done without too much previous experience in the industry.

What was that experience like?

Learning how to run a restaurant/cafe and work behind the coffee machine – we mostly learnt a lot of that on the job. We had some coffee training and some experience with Single-O coffee in Surry Hills through their roastery. But most of what we learnt was by being hands-on in our small little café at the time in Bronte.

So the journey started in Bronte?

Bronte was our first location and then a couple years later we established Three Blue Ducks down in the snowfields in Victoria. About four years ago we stopped doing that with the intention of opening in Byron Bay. Since then, we’ve also opened venues in Rosebery and in Brisbane.

How long have you been in the industry?

We opened Three Blue Ducks in Bronte almost eight years ago now and I guess that was the first time I’d really worked in food and beverage in the hospitality industry. I’d worked in tourism and retail before, but never in a cafe or a restaurant.

How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Well the original idea for Three Blue Ducks was just to create a place that we would want to go to. A place that we enjoyed and where we could use all the ideas we had around how we can – and want – to run our business. That’s where it all started.

Our ethos started with our passion caring for the environment and sustainability. It was in our way of life already. Something that we were already thinking about. So it was natural progression to incorporate this focus into our business.

What do you attribute your success to?

That’s a good question. A lot of hard work and a lot of passion for what we do. Not necessarily just being a business – first and foremost we’re just people too. It’s rubbed off on people from the beginning. A lot of our customers really appreciated that we were just normal guys. Over the years we’ve just been lucky enough to involve more and more really good staff. And we’ve been able to carry on what we’ve been doing from the beginning.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

To just do what you want to do. Do what you’re passionate about. Something that drives your passion. Work hard.

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Six Simple Machines believes in six simple philosophies of good business – To be Sustainable, Ethical, Efficient, Profitable, Innovative and Passionate.

What are your thoughts on these philosophies? Are these in line with how you run your business?

When it comes to the environment and sustainability, these are obviously the big things that we’re passionate about. I think the impact that we as humans have on the environment is huge. The less damaging effect we can have on our surrounding environment the better. It’s a beautiful world that we live in and we want to keep it that way. That’s where our passion for sustainability and the environment comes from.

In our Three Blue Ducks restaurants, we try and use local and sustainably sourced ingredients – especially when it comes to proteins. We ensure that we minimise our waste by using the whole animal or using the whole vegetable, so we’re not throwing things out unnecessarily.

We’re avid recyclers and composters. We collect all of our food waste. In Byron it goes to feed the animals, or it gets composted on site and then used to grow more vegetables. In Bronte and Rosebery, we collect it all and we give it to the community gardens in the local area so they can compost the scraps and use it to grow more food.

We run our restaurant in Bronte almost entirely on solar during the middle of the day. We have a big solar system on the roof, so pretty much every coffee that we make at Bronte is made using solar energy which is pretty impressive. In the restaurant in Byron, we harvest all of our rainwater off the roof, filter it, and make coffee out of it or serve it at tables. That’s one our key ethos, especially this time of year (summer) when water is scarce. We try and waste as little as possible.

Choosing the right products and equipment plays a big part when it comes to efficiencies. As a barista, efficiency is one element that you’re always striving to improve on. To make amazing coffee is one thing, but to make a thousand amazing coffees in one day is another. Saving that one second here or there has made a huge impact on a barista.

How did you come across The Juggler?

We’ve had a very close relationship with the guys for a long time, right from when we first opened. We first came across The Juggler when the guys were in the process of designing it and the first one installed at Sideshow Café was our first introduction. We had a play on this ‘prototype’ and decided that it was a great option for reducing the amount of plastic that’s going out into the world with all those single use plastic bottles. So as soon as it was ready to go into the market, we asked to have one of the first ones. I believe that we got the second one that they made… and it’s still working in our place in Bronte.

So far, cafes and restaurants using The Juggler have prevented the use of over 18,000,000 single-use 2Lt plastic milk bottles. How do you feel about that?

That’s a massive saving of milk bottles. Its mind blowing! To imagine that that amount of plastic that goes into one milk bottle too, times 18 million – that’s almost one milk bottle per person in Australia that we’ve saved, in a relatively short amount of time with small cluster of the industry as well.

If more cafes were able to can pick up this technology and get on board with The Juggler – and we’re seeing more and more dairies coming on board and offering milk in bags to fit the product – I think we could almost eradicate the use of plastic milk bottles, at least in a commercial setting.

How many litres do you go through in a week?

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