Sustainable business practices are gaining momentum and are currently considered one of the best ways to carry out corporate social responsibility initiatives. Going green is what sustainability is all about, especially when it comes to running a business. The term sustainability has become a popular catchphrase for eco-friendly business practices that many companies are adopting in their day-to-day strategies in recent times.
Research suggests that customers’ mentality is changing rapidly and they want to associate with businesses that are sustainable in their practices. According to a study conducted by Purdue University, 2/3rd of the respondents were willing to pay more at restaurants which used green practices during their short and long-term operations.
As the customers become more and more educated and aware, they want to associate with businesses that share their belief systems and values. So, regardless of the size of your catering business or restaurant, you can contribute significantly to conserving the resources and saving the planet.
5 Ways in Which You can Run an Eco-Friendly Restaurant
Cut Down Food Waste:
One of the major issues that restaurants and caterers grapple with is the enormous food waste that takes place after an event or at the end of a business day. So, this is the issue that restaurants need to resolve in order to take the frist step towards eco-friendliness. The Green Restaurant Association stated that approximately 25,000 to 75,000 pounds of food waste takes place annually from an average restaurant. So, to become sustainable and to reduce the extent of food waste, this is what restaurants need to do.
Mark Out the Expiry Dates:
When your chef starts preparing the dishes, ensure that he or she uses up all the ingredients which are soon about to expire. To make things easier, highlight the products that are soon to expire with a “Use By (date)” sticker to catch the attention of the kitchen staff.
Use Digital Inventory Management Software:
To counter food waste, most managers working in sustainable restaurants use digital inventory software to keep track of the food that is close to expiry. These softwares also keep you updated about the current stock, ensuring that you do not over order.
Donate Excess Food:
Even after taking all these precautions and more, you might still have surplus food on your hand at the end of a business day. It is best to donate the food to non-profits rather than dumping it off in the garbage. Moreover, donating surplus food is a great way to gain positive press for the restaurant.
Invest in Eco-Friendly Catering Food Heaters and Energy Efficient Kitchen Appliances:
Sterno buffets and other conventional food heaters use chafing fuel to produce an open flame and keep the food warm. The toxic fumes released during this process are not only harmful to the environment but also to our health. Chafing fuel emissions cause air pollution and dumping the remnants of this fuel pollutes the soil and eventually seeps into the groundwater, thus causing it to turn toxic.
By using chafing fuel, restaurants offering buffet service and caterers are allowing three degrees of pollution to take place unchecked. Therefore, restaurateurs must use superior, eco-friendly catering food heaterslike the EcoHeat Warmers developed by Heat Factory USA. The EcoHeat Warmers are air-activated heaters that produce ample heat to keep the food warm and tasty for longer. Moreover, using sustainable catering food heaters is comparatively safer than using chafing fuel as there is an ever present risk of fire with the later.
Controlling energy consumption and reducing it significantly is another major aspect of becoming a green restaurant. Apparently, the food service industry consumes $10 billion worth of energy each year. Replacing the existing machinery with energy-efficient appliances – look for the Energy Star rating – is a great way of lowering the electricity bills.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products:
Traditional cleaning products are harsh and not at all eco-friendly. This is a fact that we are all aware of. The chemical cleaners that we use at home and at restaurants do not decompose and thus pollute the air and the groundwater table. Add to that, the smell of bleach floating around your restaurant is not something that your patrons would like.
So, to become a sustainable restaurant it is essential to replace the conventional cleaning products with environmentally friendly alternatives. It is best to buy products that carry the Green Seal or Design for the Environment certification.
Buy Produce Locally:
One of the best sustainable practices that all restaurants can adopt is to buy their produce from the local markets. This not only helps the local economy but also lowers carbon dioxide emissions. If you buy from the local farmers market instead of ordering your materials from other cities, you will cut down the carbon emissions significantly, which would benefit the planet in the long-term. Moreover, seasonal produce will be available at much cheaper rates at the local farmers market than ordering the same from the distributor.
Use Water Smartly:
Just like reducing food wastage, conserving water is equally important if you want to establish your restaurant as an eco-friendly one. The various news reports of water crisis all over the world have not escaped people’s notice. So, if a patron sees you conserving water during such trying times, it would enhance the reputation of your establishment. Here is how you can save water while successfully running a restaurant:
Replace plastic bottled water with an in-house filtration system.
Equip your washrooms with water-conserving toilets that aim to reduce water usage with every flush.
Instead of using electricity from the main grid to heat water, install solar thermal panels to heat water and become an eco-friendly restaurant.
The Bottom Line:
Adopting sustainable practices into your corporate strategies is a very smart move. Going green will not only attract like-minded customers but will also satisfy your current clientèle. Remember, you are doing this not only to establish a flourishing business but also to save the planet in the long run.