Contract foodservices is our business, so we’re well aware of what’s going on in the restaurant industry. Environmentally sustainable restaurants are growing in numbers, as it seems sustainability is a “sizzling” topic among many industries today. You might think local produce and meat/seafood that’s sourced locally is a huge step toward sustainability, and it is – but there’s much more to it than that, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Environmental sustainability, natural ingredients in menu items; it’s all about restaurateurs that desire to go green. The good news is that consumers are willing to shell out a bit more for menu items and services that are environmentally and socially responsible, according to Nielsen research.
Other trends in environmentally sustainable restaurants include:
Curbing water use. On average, a restaurant will use between 5,500 and 6,000 gallons of water each day, which is a huge amount. Some have found it’s possible to cut water use by about a third (33%) simply by having leaks repaired and installing infrared sensors in urinals. That’s a substantial amount of water savings.
Waste reduction. This has been a huge issue in restaurants for decades, not only in terms of the amount of food thrown out (which, in North America is estimated at more than 134 million pounds per year), but also in terms of paper towels, Styrofoam or paper cups, old fryer oil, packaging, and other waste. Restaurants concerned about waste should consider a waste audit in order to determine where unnecessary waste exists, and how to eliminate or reduce that waste.
Should you have an energy-efficiency audit conducted? It’s not a bad idea, given the enormous amounts of electricity restaurants use due to the necessity of not only heat and air conditioning but also sanitation and refrigeration. It’s possible to reveal the biggest culprits by having an energy-efficiency audit conducted, so you’ll know the areas that need to be improved upon. One Houston-based boutique restaurant experienced a 23% decrease in energy costs after working with a consulting firm!
Renewable energy is another way to contribute to sustainability in your restaurant. Whether through wind turbines, solar hot-water systems or other measures, renewable energy is important given that restaurants are super energy-intensive. Renewable energy systems often pay for themselves many times over, so the initial cost doesn’t sting so much.
As an environmentally sustainable restaurant, or one who’s working toward that goal, what are your thoughts and what measures have you taken to make your establishment more sustainable?
Gourmet Services, Inc. specializes in foodservice management catering to schools, corporations, retail and franchise restaurants, airport concessions, mobile restaurants and more. Quality is priority one when it comes to fresh foods and service!