Founded in 1775, the Royal Thames Yacht Club is one of the oldest private members clubs in the world.
Its 2,000+ members club is in fashionable Knightsbridge, who members are sailors, racers and stewards of the sea. It is a somewhat of a haven in the bustling global city of London, with a reputation for the friendliest of welcomes, fine food, comfortable accommodation and fabulous views of Hyde Park.
The Club’s F&B facilities include two bars, meeting and reading rooms, a restaurant, bistro, various function rooms, outdoor terrace and accommodation (known, of course, not as bedrooms but as ‘cabins’ – there are 33 in total). Along with a full programme of events for its members, weddings and other private events keep the team busy. The team are focused on discreet, knowledgeable service and ensuring very reasonable costs to members.
The F&B team is led by Graham Francis, who's missions was to find a contemporary solution for water. Graham first met Steve Wooldridge (Customer Manager at Aqua Libra Co) at a Matthew Clark trade event and was keen to review the commercials of water at his venue. Given the obviously strong association between water and a sailing club, he was particularly motivated to do the right thing, and if possible, avoid single-use glass and plastic. However, that ‘better way’ also had to deliver for his members – who not just expect high standards in sustainability as a given, but also fine tasting water and stylish glassware. As members, they also expect reasonable costs. Water straight out of the tap was not an option due to the taste and appearance of local tap water.
Re-evaluated water category
Prior to moving to the Aqua Libra brand, the Club stocked single-use Hildon water bottles. The Aqua Libra brand, by contrast, only chooses re-usable glass to reduce unnecessary road miles and carbon footprint, and consciously avoids single-use plastic packaging altogether. Acutely aware of the carbon footprint and significant road-miles and waste associated with single use packaged water, Graham worked with Aqua Libra Co to completely re-invent and re-value the water proposition at the Club.
‘Members and guests have responded incredibly well to the transition. We did blind-taste testing of Aqua Libra versus packaged water before we launched, and many could not tell the difference, and indeed a slight majority said they preferred Aqua Libra. When we made the change, everyone noticed, and we proudly and proactively told members and guests about it. They were delighted that we were doing something that was good for the planet. Members were quick to appreciate the quality, pure tasting water that the Aqua Libra brand stands for.
Graham Francis, F&B manager at The Royal Yacht Club
Crafting the perfect premium branded water solution.
The Aqua Libra system ‘pays for itself twice over and some’, simply from the cost saving realised from no longer having to provide club staff alone with single-use water during their working hours, which used to cost ‘in excess of £4,000 a year’. Now staff just help themselves to finely filtered water on demand, making staff hydration even easier supporting health and wellbeing. As an innovative F&B Manager, Graham realises the unique COGS profile of Aqua Libra branded glass water means lots more commercial optionality to benefit all stakeholders. So he isn’t standing still.