The planet’s global warming will be a never-ending crisis if we do not do our part for the environment. Sustainability can be an incredible money saver for restaurants. Arbys, for example, has saved 20% on energy usage after using a new cooking system that reduced the amount of time needed to cook their roast beef by 67%. Being an environmentally conscious and sustainable restaurant benefits the planet and your restaurant.
In our blog, we cover some of the benefits your restaurant can receive from being environmentally sustainable. Additionally, we provide some steps you can take to become an environmentally sustainable restaurant.
Becoming a sustainable restaurant can have a positive impact on your return on investment (ROI). A study showed that 99% of restaurants that implemented food loss and waste reduction programs saw an increased ROI.
Being an environmentally conscious restaurant can help you save lots of money on utilities and resources. Installing energy-efficient light bulbs, kitchen hardware, etc, can help you reduce the amount of energy you use every day. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, having energy-efficient equipment like combination ovens can cut operating costs by half. Some energy-efficient equipment can be expensive to purchase but can save you thousands of dollars over the first years of owning it.
Guests are willing to pay more
Going green allows your restaurant to appeal to the growing market that values environmental sustainability and seeks restaurants that value being eco-friendly, and helping out the environment. A study by Restaurant Dive found that 43% of diners are willing to pay more at restaurants that prioritize environmental sustainability.
Prioritizing sustainability can also positively impact your brand. With the increased demand for environmentally conscious businesses, going green will create a positive perception of your restaurant for customers. Additionally, environmentally conscious customers will prefer to go to your restaurant rather than going to a restaurant that serves organic food. A study by the National Restaurant Association states that 38% of customers are most likely to choose a restaurant that offers dishes with locally-sourced ingredients. The same study showed that 30% of customers would rather choose a restaurant that offers environmentally-friendly grown food than those offering those raised organically.
Tax, grants, and subsidies
Some countries have begun to truly understand and see the demand for sustainable businesses and have implemented laws and financial incentives like tax breaks, rebates, and other monetary incentives to encourage businesses to go green. For example, the government of the United States has established financial incentives for those businesses that install HVAC systems that significantly reduce energy use. Another incentive is tax credits or grants of 10-30% for use of alternative energy properties.
Furthermore, some governments are even offering grants, subsidies, and financial programs for those businesses that want to become eco-friendlier.
Research the benefits and incentives your country has to find out how you can start to go green.
How to do it?
Grow your food
If possible, grow your food! This will reduce the number of resources and materials you buy that are not environmentally friendly. Growing your food will also reduce your food costs.
Buying your ingredients locally will also reduce the number of ingredients you buy that are grown using processes that are not environmentally friendly. For example, instead of buying ingredients that are flown over, you can look for the same ingredient at a farm that grows it locally.
Manage all waste and reduce consumption
Not only should you be managing food waste, but you should also be managing energy, water and, resource waste. You should only be buying exactly what you need in ingredients and maintaining constant inventory to be aware of those ingredients that are going bad sooner than others. You can also use scraps from other dishes to create new dishes or for other dishes already on the menu. For example, using scrap vegetables from making a salad to create a vegetable broth or stock.
Watch your energy and water usage. Keep only necessary lights on and for short periods of time if possible to reduce the amount of electricity you use. When washing dishes or vegetables or cooking you want to also watch the amount of water you use. Many places around the globe are running out of drinkable water and ask citizens to use as little water as possible to ensure there is enough.
Furthermore, you should manage your waste in areas like packaging, bathroom paper towels, etc. Instead of providing paper towels in bathrooms, you can invest in electronic, energy-efficient of course, hand-drying tools to reduce your use of paper. Instead of using harmful plastic packaging, you can also look into the use of packaging created out of recyclable materials to reduce the impact on the planet and the environment.
Create a sustainable menu
A way you can create a sustainable menu is by updating your menu seasonally. By that we mean, creating a menu or updating your menu to have dishes that can be made with ingredients that are known for growing in the specific season. Since the ingredient is abundant during the seasonal time it grows it will also be cheaper for you. Instead of updating your whole menu, you can easily start by substituting seasonal ingredients.
Additionally, you can have a sustainable menu by reducing the portion sizes of dishes. Many customers do not eat all of the dishes they order as they can have enormous portions, and it increases food waste. By reducing portion sizes, you will reduce the customers’ and your restaurant’s food waste.
Lastly, you can also reduce the size of your menu to have a sustainable menu. It is easier to make a few standout dishes green rather than the whole menu. With fewer dishes and recipes to know your kitchen staff can focus on the quality of their food rather than the number of different dishes, they need to worry about sending out.
Eco-friendly cleaning products
Invest in environmentally friendly cleaning products that are used to wash dishes, clean tables, etc. Many cleaning products can contain harmful ingredients that may not seem or be harmful to us but are to the environment. Look for alternatives that are made of ingredients that will not harm the environment.
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Written by Erika Escolero Orrego