This article will discuss how you should go green with your restaurant and provide some tips on how to do it. ‘Going Green’ is much more than a buzzword. Brands, small and large, all should take the steps to go green. Not only is it good for the planet but going green can also save restaurants money each year. Plus, going green is an ethical approach that will get all the planet lovers on your side. There are many ways restaurants can go green and save money. Energy efficient appliances, low flow toilets and recycled paper goods are just a few efforts to become more eco-friendly. Statistics have shown that customers today are willing to spend more if a business uses eco-friendly practices.
So, here are 10 ways your restaurant can go green!
1. Go Green With Your Restaurant: Reduce Food Waste
The first step of how to go green with your restaurant is to handle your food waste. According to the Green Restaurant Association, the average restaurant wastes between 25,000 and 75,000 pounds of food every year. What is an environmentally friendly restaurant to do?
-Use a Digital Inventory Management Tool: To reduce food waste, most eco-friendly restaurant managers rely on the latest tech. They use a digital inventory tool. This software sends alerts to your smartphone when inventory is near expiring. You also get a real-time look at inventory so you do not over order.
-Highlight Expiration Dates: When your prep chefs grab ingredients, ensure they select those closest to going off. Put stickers with a ‘use by’ date on them.
-Donate Surplus Food: Every eco-friendly restaurant has a food pantry on speed dial. Even after putting food waste controls in place, you will still end up with surplus inventory on occasion. Donating usable food ensures none of it goes to waste. It is also a great way to gain good press for your brand.
2. Go Green With Your Restaurant: Invest in Energy Efficient Appliances
Part of becoming an eco-friendly restaurant means reducing energy consumption. There is room to get better, that’s for sure. The foodservice industry uses a high amount of energy. One of the best ways to combat this is to opt for energy efficient appliances. When it is time to replace or upgrade equipment, look for the Energy Star logo. These appliances use less energy without impacting performance. To reduce restaurant energy bills, you can: perform an energy audit and control energy consumption. You can also cool down with fresh air and give equipment and appliances a tune up.
3. Go Green With Your Restaurant: Green Your Cleaning Routine
Conventional cleaning products are bad for the planet. Therefore, the harsh chemicals in industrial cleaners do not break down and pollute the air and water table. In addition, guests are not fans of that just-bleached smell. Therefore, to be an eco-friendly restaurant, swap out conventional cleaners with eco-friendly brands. So, ask your distributor to supply products that are certified eco, that contain chemicals that do not harm the planet.
4. Go Green With Your Restaurant: Go Local and Grow Your Own Produce
One of the best eco-friendly restaurant tips can be found in your own back garden. Start buying a few ingredients from local farmers. By ordering items from just across the city, you reduce your carbon footprint. When produce is in season locally, it is often cheaper than the same product shipped in from your distributor. On the road to becoming an eco-friendly restaurant, there is no need to ditch your distributor. You can also grow your own produce and herbs.
5. Go Green With Your Restaurant: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The 3 R’s are a mantra for the eco-friendly restaurant manager. By reducing waste, reusing containers and recycling materials, your business can make huge strides when it comes to sustainability.
To get started, here are some ideas:
-Swap your regular toilet paper and paper towels with chlorine-free, recycled paper
-Buy kitchen and bar mats made from 100% recycled materials
-Recycle wood boxes, glass bottles and cardboard
-Exchange plastic and styrofoam materials for reusable cups and recyclable containers.
6. Try a Kinder Wine
If you are already serving organic food, going organic at the bar is the next step. Therefore, begin by adding a few organic wines to your drink list. Most wine is made using chemicals and farming practices that are harmful to the planet. In addition, some wineries even inject pesticides and other chemicals directly into the soil. This contaminates the area that surrounds the wine and even the wine itself.
7. Be Strategic About Shipping
Most vendors and distributors are willing to work with an eco-friendly restaurant. Ask about ways to reduce shipments to once per week to cut down on fuel emissions. Request that the vendor uses biodegradable materials and less packaging for your orders. Let them know about your eco-friendly restaurant goals. Once they know this, they may suggest more ways to help you reduce your impact on the planet.
8. Get Smarter About Water
Conserving water is vital when planning to go green. It is also a way to reduce energy bills.
Here is how to do it:
-Replace your facilities with water-saving toilets to reduce the amount of water used with every flush
-Consider switching from bottled water to an in-house filtration system
-Install solar thermal panels to heat water for your environmentally friendly restaurant. Many state and municipal governments are offering grants and rebates for solar panels.
9. Build a Sustainable Dining Room
Yes, there are even ways to make your dining room eco-friendly. Start with the furniture. Purchase locally-built tables and chairs for your dining area. Most local woodworkers may strike a deal with an eco-friendly restaurant, especially if you promote their work. The next step is to reduce the use of cloth tablecloths and napkins. Linens seem to be the more eco-friendly option. However, they are hard to keep looking good without the use of chemical cleaners, bleaches and starches. Not to mention, water is wasted with every wash. Instead, go for paper materials that can be recycled. If linens are needed for your ambiance, go for softer, cloth materials over the traditional, starchy variety.
10. Consider Composting
Composting is one of the best steps your eco-friendly restaurant can take to reduce emissions and food waste. It is also easy. Therefore, just keep a separate can in your kitchen for staff to dispose of food-based waste. At the end of each day, throw it out in the outdoor compost bin. In addition, the best part is that you now have free compost to fertilize your restaurant’s garden. You may not have room for a garden at your restaurant. Therefore, you could donate the nutrient-rich compost to a community garden.
This article discussed how you should go green with your restaurant and provided some tips on how to do it. These tips are a great starting point to becoming an eco-friendly restaurant. However, you should not stop there. Once you have these 10 ways nailed, research more eco practices that your restaurant can adopt. Therefore, going green is a smart and strategic move. As a result, becoming an environmentally friendly restaurant can satisfy current guests, attract new customers and improve your bottom line. Most importantly, you are doing your part to protect our planet.