10 Ways to Make Your Restaurant More Eco-Friendly
A recent Purdue University study showed that over ⅔ of today’s restaurant customers would be willing to pay more to eat at a restaurant that is eco-friendly.
The extra effort required to make sure your restaurant does everything it can to help the environment will likely pay off in the long run, with more customers willing to spend money at your establishment.
Here are 10 ways to make your restaurant more eco-friendly...
1. Reduce your food waste.
There are many ways to accomplish this. Start by using the first-in-first-out (FIFO) method of inventory. Then, be sure that whatever food is leftover is either taken home by your guests in doggy bags, donated to local food banks, or composted. Check out our blog post on reducing food waste to learn about what else you can do.
2. Reduce or eliminate your plastic straw usage.
America uses an astounding 500 million straws a day, according to the National Park Service. We’ve all seen the outcry against plastic straws in the restaurant industry. Some legislation has been proposed to curb usage because of how harmful they are to animals and the environment. There are several ways your restaurant can help out with this problem. For example, you can consider only giving straws to guests who specifically request them, you can opt for a less harmful alternative like paper straws, or you can even eliminate straws from your restaurant altogether.
3. Cut down on energy usage by switching over to Energy Star certified appliances.
This may seem like an unnecessary investment, but it will vastly reduce your energy expenditures in the long run. Look for the Energy Star logo when purchasing new freezers, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
4. Source as many local ingredients as possible.
Not only is supporting local farmers and business very on-trend, but it also helps the environment immensely by cutting down on CO2 emissions that come with long-distance food transportation.
5. Set a goal to become Green Restaurant Association certified.
The GRA has many standards for restaurants to become green certified. Even if you can’t achieve full certification, their goals and standards are great goals to shoot for to improve your operations. This certification also looks great to those ⅔ of customers who would spend more for an eco-friendly restaurant!
6. Cut down on water usage.
There are many ways to do this, including investing in water efficient appliances like toilets and sinks. Even aside from new appliances, you can have your staff help you reduce water usage by training them to always turn off sinks between wash cycles.
7. Use environmentally-friendly cleaning chemicals.
This is something that often goes unnoticed, but many popular cleaning chemicals are horrible for the environment. Look into alternative options that do not damage the environment when disposed of.
8. Cut down on paper waste.
You can do this by using cloth napkins and tablecloths or by getting rid of paper towel in the bathrooms in favor of hand dryers. Reducing the amount of receipts you give out can also help with this. As an example, our kiosks give the option of “green receipts:” customers can have their receipt emailed to them or they can forego the receipt completely.
9. Look for organic food and beverage alternatives.
This is great for supporting clean food and ingredient-raising practices.
10. Invest in motion sensor lights in the non-dining areas of your restaurant.
The restaurant industry consumes ⅓ of all energy consumed by the retail sector and is five times more energy intensive than other retail, office, and lodging industries. You can start cutting down on electricity usage by installing motion sensor lights in places like your bathrooms.
There is always more you can do to make sure your restaurant is doing its part to help out the environment, but these tips are a great place to start. In order to get visibility, make your eco-friendly practices a part of your brand. Whether it be verbally, through your menu, or even through restaurant design, your customers would absolutely love to hear about your sustainability efforts.