If you have visited Byron Bay there is no doubt that you have heard of No Bones. Nestled moments away from the ocean, the team behind the plant-based dining destination have well and truly made their mark in the local community and are leading the way in sourcing local and sustainable produce. We recently visited co-founders Yasmina, Tahlia, Restaurant Manager Lili and the team in Byron Bay to find out what happens behind the scenes, how they reduce waste in their restaurant and are helping their staff to lead sustainable lives one small step at a time. Catch our full chat below.
Wondering how a 250+ seater restaurant ticks? We went behind the counter with No Bones here.
“At No Bones, we want to create a dining experience that rivals any of the best restaurants around, vegan or not. It’s a place for people to come and enjoy good food, great cocktails and an amazing vibe. We pride ourselves on providing friendly service in a beautiful environment. It’s a restaurant that makes a difference for the planet.”
— Yasmina, Co-Owner No Bones
SQ: Why did you start No Bones?
Y: The plant-based movement is a new and exciting development in the food industry. A few years ago the word ‘vegan’ was rarely associated with fine dining. There has been a huge shift in the past couple of years, born from an increased awareness of the state of our planet. Plant-based dining has become an exciting new challenge for some of the best chefs around the world and as more people make a conscious effort to decrease their weekly meat consumption, plant-based food is becoming ever more popular.
SQ: Have you always been Byron locals?
Y: Tahlia was born and raised here in Byron, I was born and raised in France, but we both spent time studying and working in hospitality in the UK. Within two days of moving to Byron from London Tahlia and I met - the rest is history!
SQ: Why is it important to source ingredients and produce from local growers?
Y: We are incredibly privileged in Byron Bay to have a plethora of local growers around us. By opting to source as many of our ingredients as possible locally we decrease our carbon footprint associated with travel all while supporting our local community.
The local farmers have had a tough few years and the recent floods have added another challenge to their productivity. We try to source as locally as possible and then extend our radius as we need to, but try never to use imported products. All our wines, beers and most of our spirits are made here in Australia. It all helps minimise our carbon footprint as we aim to become carbon neutral and then carbon positive very soon.
SQ: What are your tips for businesses to become more sustainable?
Y: Waste is a huge problem in most restaurants. Finding simple yet effective ways to minimise waste is always a good place to start. For restaurants, it could be as simple as getting a green bin for all food waste. I would always suggest encouraging employees to use ethical banks and super funds too.
SQ: You mentioned encouraging your employees to switch their finances to ethical banks/lenders. Tell us more about this, and how it helps your employees to create change?
Y: No Bones was created from a desire to do better for our world. A plant based diet is one of the single biggest ways to reduce your impact on the planet. There are other ways to make positive change, like choosing where you bank and what superannuation fund you use. Finding out what these businesses invest in and consciously choose not to invest in is an easy change to make and can have a huge impact. Ethical banks and superannuation funds are just as user-friendly, but your money will be making a difference even without you knowing.
SQ: Why did you choose Square to power your business?
Y: I mean it goes without saying how beautiful Square hardware looks on the counter. It helps when the equipment we use looks just as stunning as the restaurant right? Not only is it good looking on the outside, it’s functional on the inside.
SQ: What is your favourite Square feature?
Y: It has to be the Reports feature, this enables us to keep track of items we sell, takings for different days of the week and comparing data to other reports over the year.
SQ: You have taken over three shop spaces now! Can you tell us about the reno and how you have re-purposed recycled materials in the new space?
Y: When we took over the last shop we had to knock through walls and redesign the inside space. So, we took the opportunity to work with as many local artisans as possible. Our very bright and beautiful orange Chub tables and blue Chub stools are from Brother Fearon Fabrication from Burleigh Heads, where they design and manufacture aluminium furniture by hand. Our bar top is recycled concrete from Five Mile Radius and use both recycled and natural materials. A lot of the debris from our build (broken lights, pots, even the occasional plate) went into the bar top. They are local leaders in closed loop thinking, waste reuse and bioclimatic design. We also spent a lot of time fixing anything we already had instead of buying new and what we did buy new we tried to make sure was made here in Australia.
SQ: Can you tell us about how No Bones Little started and share any plans for your third No Bones location?
Y: No Bones Little opened in 2021. It’s a great place for shoppers going into the supermarket to stop for a coffee and a snack. We love how many new customers we can introduce to plant based milks and food. Most people are willing to try something new and when they do they usually come back.
We are in the process of opening another No Bones Little in Ocean Shores. We are excited to work with and serve the local community there too. We have exciting plans for this venue but it is still in the initial set up stages.