Environmentally friendly restaurants are essential in the 21st century. The shift to sustainability has been happening for a long time. However, up until now, it has been a small part of the restaurant owners worries, but in recent years there has been a dramatic shift in attitude. In March 2018, fast food giant McDonalds set to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
The general public has been educating themselves about global warming and recycling and owners are scrambling to be more environmentally friendly. Diners are more aware of the importance of where food is sourced, the packaging that’s used, and more and more are basing their dining decisions on it.
Thankfully, becoming an environmentally friendly restaurateur doesn’t have to be complex or cost a fortune. Here are a few tips to help your business become part of the change the world is demanding.
Buying as much food as possible locally will help to reduce your carbon footprint. It can mean some of your dishes become seasonal, but creating a menu that reflects seasonal availability is something you can use to help make your customers aware of how environmentally friendly you are.
If you want to take your food sourcing to the next level, you can start to grow some of the ingredients yourself. While only some restaurants will have a garden, there is no rulebook saying the garden has to be attached to the restaurant. You could rent an allotment or use part of your own garden as a restaurant garden. This will not only go down well with your customers, but it will save you money.
Restaurant gardens aren’t just great for growing food. They also provide a useful place to compost waste and get some of your waste working for you.
While composting will help with a lot of your organic waste, there are plenty of other ways you can reduce the rubbish you produce. Start using recycled paper, glass, and cardboard. Some wholesalers are also happy to have packaging returned so it can be reused. Talk to your suppliers and make them aware of what you’re trying to achieve, you might be surprised by how many of them are doing something similar and will only be too happy to help.
If you’re starting a new restaurant or refitting an older one, find a local builder that deals in reclaimed materials. Add another star to your environmentally friendly card by using reclaimed materials. Customers appreciate businesses that make an effort, and using reclaimed materials can add some real character to your establishment. For example: Noodlebox; they've re-purposed their old woks as light fixtures and wood fixtures are from the mountain pine beetle epidemic. The old materials get a new lease of life and become a trendy addition to their restaurant!
Skip the paper ordering and look into using a supplier that supports electronic ordering. This makes placing an order much more convenient and removes the need to jump in your car and visit a supplier. It saves you time, money, and reduces your carbon footprint even further.
Make sure your employees are aware of the importance of conserving water and electricity. Turning off the tap when it’s not in use can save a considerable amount of water over time. You can even install flow restrictions. These will help to limit the amount of water used at hand-washing sinks and by dishwashers. Save electricity by turning off unnecessary lights; or install light activating motion sensors in areas not in frequent use, so lights are never unnecessarily left on.
As you replace appliances, opt for energy saving new ones. You should also ensure your ventilation is energy efficient. If you refit a bathroom, install toilets that use less water.
Some of these changes require a new approach, but even taking smaller steps will help to increase your stakes as an environmentally friendly establishment. Though adjusting an established business to an environmentally friendly operation doesn’t happen overnight, it’s an evolutionary process. A little goes a long way and you can make most aspects of your establishment environmentally friendly restaurant with a little thought.
“In the labor numbers, we were reporting about a $300 to $400 difference than what we were getting through Push!”
-Tara Hardie, ZZA Hospitality Group, 16 locations