We believe strongly that every decision we make matters and that we should “vote with our money” to buy products that are responsible and sustainable whenever possible.
How this ultimately is implemented is complex. As a bowling alley, restaurant, and arcade, there are many facets to our business. Some can be easily made more sustainable and others are more difficult, so we spend a tremendous amount of time weighing each decision and its impact. We are constantly asking questions like, "This decision will support local farmers but it will also increase the price of a certain menu item - will our customers see the value? Will it still be affordable for them?" "This change might make this menu item healthier but will it still provide the flavor our customers want? Will it replace a well-liked menu item and make people unhappy when the old item is no longer available?" "This change enables us to use a food product that is locally and ethically sourced but it is only available in unprocessed form - will it take too long to cook to order? Will customers be upset that they have to wait so long?"
For us, implementing sustainability in our food service can come in many forms. It can include making a menu item more nutritious, using organic or naturally-grown ingredients, buying from local farms, or purchasing meat or dairy products that don't contain added hormones or antibiotics. Here are some sustainable ingredients our menu features:
- Beef from Superior Angus in Rapid River; raised on natural pastures with grain supplement during winter
- Pizza dough from Marquette Baking Company; dough is half-whole grain (made with half white flour and half whole grain flour) because...why does pizza have to be unhealthy?
- Kaisers and cracked wheat sandwich bread from Marquette Baking Company; cracked wheat was selected as our only sandwich bread to provide a nutritious option that also tastes great
- Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, carrots, green pepper, cucumber from various local farms when in season, including Seeds & Spores, Swanzy Farm, North Farm at UPREC,
- Milk from DeBacker Family Dairy
Using the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority's compost program, we divert food waste/scraps and paper products from the landfill. Our kitchen and bathrooms use a "dual-stream" trash system to separate compostable materials before they are co-mingled. Also, to minimize our environmental impact, we've converted many fixtures and lights to energy-efficient units and use occupancy sensors to make sure only necessary areas of the building are lit.
In the summer of 2015, we installed a hydroponic growing system in our kitchen and are in the process of growing our own tomatoes and bell peppers. More on that as we begin to produce our own food!
Because of the environmental impact of cans and bottles (even ones that are recycled; a great article about that here), we eliminated canned and bottled beverages, with the exception of one energy drink and five brands of "domestic premium lagers" that we do not carry on tap. Instead of bottled beverages, we offer whole leaf fair trade tea, Italian sodas with organic Monin syrup, and "real" flavored water that uses actual fruit (see these on the menu page).
Draft beer gets its own special attention. Read more about our draft beer purchasing standards here.
We are also in the process of transitioning our liquor offerings to mainly products from Michigan distilleries. We are currently selling out our stock of liquor to make room for the new, local brands. And many Michigan cocktail recipes are in the works!
Our coffee and hot chocolate are also in a transition to fair trade options, so keep checking as we sell out our current stock and bring in new recipes in these categories.
We also believe in supporting community organizations, particularly those that have a need for financial assistance in providing a fun activity to those they serve. Some of our efforts in 2013-2014 included:
Creating the Bowling Lifeskills Fund to provide bowling to groups that work with at-risk or underserved community members
Funding local youth scholarships through bowling games and jackpots
Donating over 1000 free bowling games to fundraisers and community wellness events
Providing area school systems with portable bowling lanes to use free of charge as part of their physical education curriculum
Founding a local chapter of the USBC Youth Leader Program to provide local high school students with leadership opportunities to prepare for college
Providing discounts, coupons, materials, and administrative support for area organizations to host bowling fundraisers