BARC is a speakeasy cocktail bar committed to creating a more environmentally sustainable and comfortable workspace and atmosphere for women alongside the ultimate cocktail experience. The BARC team understands the importance of creating a social impact as an essential challenge for all businesses, regardless of sector and is one of the only bars in Nepal to have introduced a free sanitary pad dispenser for their customers and staff.
Read our conversation with the owner Mr. Abhishek Tuladhar on the importance of building a socially responsible business and the need to create an inviting and safe environment for women in bars across Nepal.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey, when and how did it start?
I started my cocktail catering service Bar Stories by Abhishek in 2017 with a vision to change the cocktail culture and scene in Nepal which evolved into opening my own cocktail bar and in 2020, I opened BARC. It has been a four year journey of transforming, innovating and learning about the cocktail culture here.
What was the inspiration behind BARC’s social impact initiative?
As a business owner myself, I feel that any establishment or organisation should identify and create a social impact initiative that aligns with their existing business interest. Therefore, when we established BARC we were very mindful of different measures we could implement to become a more community-minded business.
As a cocktail bar we have a larger number of female clientele thus, we wanted to actively pursue our efforts into how we could create a safer and more comfortable space for them. For example, we have incorporated small touches such as hooks at the bar for guests to hang their purses or coats so they can enjoy their cocktail safely and without hassle. However through research, the main issue we identified was that many bars lack menstrual hygiene and sanitation amenities, which can be as simple as the lack of bins to dispose of in the female toilets. With this in mind, we installed our free sanitary pad dispensers in the women’s toilet which is available to all our customers and staff, at any point needed during their time at BARC. Albeit a small step, we hope to contribute to better customer experience in our own way.
What are the main goals of your social impact initiative?
When we started our initiative, we didn’t have any set goals. Out of our total staff of fourteen, 50% are female and as I mentioned, we have a majority female clientele so we designed our initiative with the goal of making their experience more comfortable and as an additional support service for our female employees. It wasn’t a planned social initiative but rather, we went with what we felt was required in our bar.
Have you utilized any key metrics to monitor the impact of your service?
We make sure our female staff are aware or can let us know if the amenity is always available and in stock for them at any point in time. In addition, we also measure our impact through the amount or number of packets we purchase that directly comes from BARC’s own funds. Currently speaking, after a month of the dispenser being installed, we have gone through over twenty packets of sanitary pads.
What type of feedback have you received from both staff and consumers in regards to your initiative?
The feedback has been very positive, we are currently only catering for mostly emergency or unexpected situations. However, we are listening to our clients and staff on ways to improve this service in the future which could involve perhaps different types and sizes of sanitary pads, as it’s not ‘one size fits all’.
Do you think your social initiative will raise awareness and encourage similar establishments to install sanitary pad dispensers?
As I mentioned before, this initiative was to create a better environment for our customers and staff rather than drive a social change. But of course, we hope that our small initiative can encourage other bars and restaurants to take up a similar approach or incorporate any other type of social mission that aligns with their interest and simultaneously, enhance the customers’ experience.
Is your business committed to any other type of social mission?
We are certainly trying to incorporate more environmentally sustainable practices, we try to avoid using plastics by utilizing plant-based and biodegradable PLA straws, we also opt for brands that utilize glass packaging for most of our ingredients and prioritize recycling.
Do you have any future plans to gain more outreach?
We want our efforts to be recognised more organically and people have started recognising the small steps we are taking as a business to give back to society. Given the positive response we’ve received so far, we also hope and are open to collaborating with other organisations dedicated to promoting menstrual hygiene management in public spaces so we can make a more meaningful impact.
What changes have you experienced in your personal growth through your entrepreneurial journey?
Coming from a background where my mother was actively involved in various social impact work, it was definitely ingrained in me to give back to society through any venture I carried out. Therefore, I am very glad to be a part of a business that also benefits society and also being able to have opportunities to talk about what we do, is also a step for us to show how we can become a socially responsible organisation and encourage others towards the same direction.
Any words of advice for how other entrepreneurs can incorporate social responsibility into their business?
I believe people should identify any type of cause they are passionate about or feel they can contribute towards because if you take even a single step towards carrying out any type of social impact, the world would be a better place.
Follow the links below to learn more about BARC’s efforts to drive social change in the F&B scene.