How going green can benefit the planet as well as your business
In today’s world, people are becoming more and more conscious about their impact on the planet—something that can heavily influence people’s dining decisions.
When it comes to making significant environmental changes, many people often feel overwhelmed and powerless.
Choosing to increase your restaurant’s sustainability will both empower your customers and ease your conscience.
By bestowing customers with the choice of a greener dining option, you are giving them an opportunity to contribute towards their environmental efforts, aiding a more positive and planet-focused future. Here are some of the key ways to increase your restaurant’s sustainability and minimise your impact on the planet.
Minimise your carbon footprint by buying locally and seasonally
To reach your restaurant’s kitchen, food must be quickly stored, refrigerated, and transported—all of which require a considerable amount of energy. The further your ingredients have travelled, the higher their carbon footprint. Using local suppliers can significantly reduce your restaurant’s carbon trail.
In addition, the longer that food spends in transit, the higher the chances are of it spoiling. Buying locally will give you the benefit of having higher quality foods that are often picked the same day. This will be reflected in taste of your menu, raising the quality of your business.
Together with sourcing local ingredients comes a seasonal menu. Keeping a seasonal menu may mean changing it four times a year, or substituting items that are currently in a period of regrowth. Doing so will require flexibility on behalf of your business, however, the high-quality and ever-fresh menus will keep customers coming back for more.
Reduce food waste
In 2020, restaurants and food services accounted for a huge 12kg of food waste per person. Reducing food waste is therefore a crucial step when improving the sustainability of your restaurant.
There are many ways to reduce food waste, such as: implementing portion control, using every part of the ingredient or leftovers, and donating excess food. However, one huge way to reduce food waste is to compost it.
Composting can help to keep landfills to a minimum and can help to reduce the carbon footprint that would normally accompany the transportation of waste. Keeping a compost bin outside your restaurant, or utilising a local facility, will enter your business into the ultimate sustainable food cycle.
If possible, grow your own
A small windowsill herb pot, a rooftop garden, or a partnership with a local farmer; growing your own foods can significantly cut your business costs as well as cutting down your carbon footprint. Not only will you have the freshest of ingredients, but your staff and your customers will have a new-found appreciation of the items as well as your business’s ethos.
Growing your own ingredients can be a challenge and comes with its own risks, but it is a unique selling point that will reap in both business and planet-based rewards.
Use recyclable and eco-friendly materials
Conventional food packaging is a serious contender for environmental damages. In fact, consumer beverage packaging alone accounts for up to 48% in urban solid waste and up to 26% of marine garbage. Taking steps to use recyclable and eco-friendly materials in your restaurant can therefore significantly increase its sustainability.
Ensure that you recycle glass, tins, plastic, and cardboard correctly. Use biodegradable bin bags and ditch cling film, polystyrene boxes, and single use plastics. If your restaurant provides a takeaway service, ensure that the packaging is recyclable, or implement a service where customers can save money if they bring in reusable containers.
You can even talk to your suppliers about cutting down the packaging they use or find an alternative and greener supplier. Additionally, you can also invest in some eco-friendly equipment that will save you money on your energy bill in the long run.
Going paperless can eradicate unnecessary practises, ease your environmental impact, and save all the money you would normally spend on paper, ink, and printers. Consider online menus, digital receipts, and writing specials on a chalk board.
Where your employees are concerned, rotas can be created and amended online and notice boards can become digital, allowing you a little extra time, space, and money that can be dedicated to other aspects of your business.
Create more vegetarian and vegan options
From deforestation to make room for livestock, to overfished oceans, to greenhouse gas emissions; research consistently shows that the production of meat significantly and negatively impacts the planet much more than that of plant-based foods.
As a result, many people are now turning to vegetarian and vegan diets. In fact, 32% of people have stated that having vegan and vegetarian options are an important factor when deciding where to eat.
Creating plenty of vegetarian and vegan-friendly options will therefore not only boost your restaurant’s sustainability, but it will also help to keep up with the rapidly growing consumer base and help to ensure the survival of your business.
Celebrate what you’re trying to achieve
By implementing these approaches into your business, you will significantly increase your restaurant’s sustainability. However, it’s also important to celebrate this newfound eco-friendly status.
By making your sustainable achievements known, customers will be enthralled and influenced by your greener position and will intentionally return to your restaurant time and time again.