Soklim Srun started her career as a restaurant owner in 2014 when she began making lunch boxes from her TPP location for local delivery. Her dream was to offer fresh, healthy Cambodian food at an affordable price, and for 8 months she struggled to make a profit; most of her clients came from word-of-mouth recommendations. Business started taking off when she moved to her current location in September of that same year and she’s been going from strength-to-strength ever since, opening a second location in BKK in January 2017.
She has become somewhat of an icon in the industry, well-known for her commitment to reduce plastic waste in her outlets, and she always has time to give advice, mentor or dream up new ways to help the pollution problems in her beloved Cambodia. She credits her passion for environmental issues to her time at The Shop, where she worked for 11 years in various positions…there she learned much about the problem, and concrete, creative ways to battle against plastic pollution.
Soklim not only supports other eco-friendly organisations in her restaurants, she also uses biodegradable food packaging from Only One Planet, and provides boxes or re-usable bags to her suppliers, forbidding them to deliver to her in the usual plastic bags. Both Eleven One locations are free water refill stations for the Refill Not Landfill initiative, and she serves filtered water to guests in reusable glass bottles, and uses only bamboo straws when a client requests one. She dreams of the day when the packaging industry can provide enough options so that she can declare her restaurant 100% plastic free – we at Only One Planet are working closely with her to make that dream a reality!
When asked what advice she would give to others wanted to “Go Green” in their business, she stressed the importance of training staff, initially and with follow-up conversations and direction. She works with Plastic Free Cambodia, who provide workshops to teach her employees about the harmful impacts of plastic in Cambodia, and ways that they can make small changes – not only at the restaurant, but in their own homes. Now, Soklim is proud to say that most employees no longer buy water in plastic bottles, but carry re-usable bottles instead. Communication and cooperation with suppliers is another key area where restaurant owners can have a big impact. It took some time and care to explain her concerns to suppliers, but now they understand and are supportive of her efforts and happily deliver her goods as she requests.