Sustainability, put simply, refers to responsible business practices. Restaurants are beginning to focus their efforts on operating in an eco-friendly manner to protect the planet and its natural resources.
Conscious consumers are seeking out restaurants that align with their values and ideals when it comes to environmental efforts and conserving resources. People are becoming more intune with the needs of our planet and as a result many consumers agree that a restaurants sustainability efforts are taken into consideration when they are choosing where to dine.
Sustainability for restaurants refers to the efforts made to reduce their impact on the environment. It extends beyond that of reducing food waste in your restaurant or using compostable coffee cups and cutlery.
Sustainable practices focus on everything from where your restaurant sources its materials to how efficient it is at using energy, to gender balance in the workplace. Being socially responsible is a way for restaurants to connect with customers and is no longer something that the industry can overlook.
5 Reasons Why Being Sustainable Will Benefit Your Restaurant
- Less Waste
Food waste has become a global problem in recent years. According to the World Resources Institute, approximately one-third of all food produced in the world for human consumption is lost or wasted. In Ireland, there are over one million tonnes of food waste disposed of each year.
It is estimated that 60% of this waste is avoidable waste, such as leftover meals or gone off fruit and veg. Wasted food means wasted resources. For this reason, tackling food waste has become one of the top sustainability priorities for restaurants.
- Lower Costs
There are enormous opportunities for restaurants to reduce costs through energy efficiency. Quite simply, the less energy you use, the more money you can save. Energy- efficient lighting and programmable heating are just some examples of the efforts that can be made to reduce costs.
Beyond energy saving costs, restaurants are now tracking the amount of food waste that their business is generating and more importantly how they can reduce it. The single best way to reduce waste is to reduce the amount created in the first place, in doing so, you can decrease overheads. Many sustainable initiatives will cost more in the beginning, but ultimately save the business money in the long run.
- Connecting with Customers
Consumers are better informed about environmental issues and as a result, it is an influencing factor for many people when choosing where to eat. It gives your restaurant an opportunity to show customers that you care about their values.
Research has shown that about 3 in 4 Millennial and Gen-Z consumers are prepared to pay more for sustainable products and services, reflecting the shift in the consumer demographic.
People are more curious about every aspect of food service from where the ingredients are sourced to what packaging they are served in. Let your customers know what efforts you are making to be more environmentally and socially responsible by posting about it on your social media.
- Restaurant Reputation
The term sustainability is popular in the media at the moment, despite the fact that this is not a passing trend. Restaurants that adopt socially responsible practices are more attractive to the green consumer and should be an integral part of the restaurant business. It reflects positively on your business if you are known to be operating sustainably and caring about the environment.
The environmentally conscious demographic of consumers is growing each day, so it is in the best interests of your restaurant to stay ahead of the game. Being a socially responsible business offers positive press and most importantly, keeps customers coming back.
- Employee Engagement
Sustainability extends further than the environment. Getting staff members involved and motivating them to take part in activities associated with sustainability is just as important. An engaged employee is likely to stay with a company longer and be a more productive worker if they are proud of where they work. It can be valuable to have staff from different departments leading the sustainability initiatives. This can encourage staff engagement which is very valuable to the business.
The concept of sustainability is becoming a driving principle for businesses around the world. At the end of the day, it means saving money, making your business look great to consumers, and adopting practices with the ultimate goal of protecting the planet and its resources.
Developing simple plans and initiatives is a good place to start. Motivating your employees to get involved and ensuring your customers know what actions you are taking to be more sustainable are key for increasing your restaurants reputation and gaining more customers.