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Restaurant Sustainability 101: How to Go Green

20 April 2023

With increased pressure for companies to become eco-friendly, the hospitality industry is no exception. Restaurant sustainability involves the food industry minimizing its impact on our planet. In areas including food product development, they are encouraged to function using methods that preserve, protect, and restore our natural environment.

The Pressure for Restaurant Sustainability

At one point, restaurants could market themselves on a great menu and ambiance alone. Now, things have changed. Growing awareness regarding damaged ecosystems and climate change remains at the forefront of customers’ consciousness. They want their money to surpass the payment process and pursue more sustainable endeavours.

Some Customers Feel Helpless to Make a Change

People can feel overwhelmed in helping the planet become ecologically sustainable. It is a monumental job. For some, the feedback they receive makes it sound like it is already too late and the damage is irreversible. Yet, taking measures to preserve our ecosystem is never too late if we all do our part.

Customers will feel like they are doing their part when restaurants trend towards sustainable measures. It can influence where people dine. If two eateries have the same menu, yet only one provides sustainable eating, most people will choose that location.

Why should restaurants become more sustainable?

Switching to sustainable practices is not only sensible in saving our planet, but is also good business. Aside from being supportive of our environment, becoming a sustainable restaurant has several positive effects on business, including the following:

  1. Brand loyalty: Customers look for restaurants that align with their values. If they find that they do, restaurants receive repeat business. People going to sustainable restaurants feel good about making a positive impact. Therefore, they receive greater fulfillment knowing they did their part.
  2. Recovered costs and increased profits: When your customer base increases, the profits will also increase. As this happens, the sustainable practices you have implemented, like minimizing your waste, will assist in recuperating any lost revenue.
  3. Growing customer base: By people becoming aware of your efforts to be more sustainable, they feel compelled to try your food. Most turn into loyal customers. Additionally, you may discover that you appeal to a more extensive customer base, especially if you incorporate vegan and vegetarian items.
  4. Increased awareness: The pressure for companies to become more sustainable dominates the media today. Some individuals are unaware of how to initiate change. Sustainable practices provide an inspiring and positive example to those unsure where to begin or why saving the environment is essential. Sometimes, just including facts on your menu elicits change.
  5. Menu improvements: Sustainable food sources can provide a varied, high-quality, and refined menu. Customers are willing to pay a little extra to participate in sustainable eating. Furthermore, improving the quality of ingredients increases food satisfaction and the taste of your food.
  6. Supply chain improvements: Being a sustainable restaurant involves reducing your carbon footprint. Shortening your supply chain is a major way to accomplish this task. It prevents food fraud from costing you business. Also, it resonates with those who want to support local communities and businesses.

If you don’t know where to begin, we provide solid advice on how to move forward to an eco-friendly, more profitable future.

7 Methods to Improve Restaurant Sustainability

To remain competitive, restaurants must incorporate sustainable methods into their practices. The following are seven methods that restaurants can use in their sustainable strategy. Some are simple, while others are long-term investments.

1. Begin the journey with small changes

Making small changes involve the following steps:

  • Discuss reducing packaging with your suppliers or search for those that will.
  • Use reusable items as much as possible, eliminating disposable packaging.
  • Utilize recycled paper for your menu.
  • Use linen napkins instead of paper ones.
  • Incorporate biodegradable bin bags that decompose material in months to years instead of decades.
  • Encourage staff to monitor water waste. Water undergoes rigorous treatment processes causing massive carbon emissions. Installing motion sensor taps eliminates the temptation to leave the water running.

2. Reduce carbon mileage

Incorporate seasonal produce and use local suppliers to reduce your carbon trail occurring after each delivery. This provides better ingredients that are often produced or picked on the same day. Reducing a carbon footprint can also be done with recycling and waste collectors.

3. Eliminate food waste

Statistics indicate that Canadians create 50 million tonnes in waste annually. Additionally, only 60% is avoidable through awareness and better planning. Furthermore, 58% ends up in a landfill. This waste significantly strains the planet as it increases the amount that restaurants put in landfills (50 million tonnes of edible food). Processing and transferring waste also creates a heavy carbon footprint.

4. Recycle

Some waste is unavoidable. Therefore, try to recycle whenever possible. Ensure you have the proper bins to cover the produced waste, and educate staff on how to separate them. Talk to your waste collectors about items not covered, as some may be recyclable.

5. Prevent waste

Examine ways to reduce waste. Some restaurants join efforts where leftover ingredients are donated or cheaply sold. Others often feed people experiencing homelessness, search for waste collectors, or compost them.

6. Use eco-friendly equipment

Consider using equipment and appliances that are eco-friendly. Watch for those with ENERGY STAR ratings; even though they may cost more, it is worth the initial investment. Additionally, long-term results save on energy costs.

7. Publicize changes

It’s important to not only create positive change for the environment but also speak out about it. Advertise your changes on social media and in your restaurant. Share statistics and updates on new initiatives and your progress with others. They will rejoice in your success and become more environmentally conscious.

While many of these changes won’t be done overnight, they can significantly contribute over time. Such practices are in your company’s best interest. They are also very manageable when you implement those changes incrementally. After a while, restaurants that neglect sustainable practices will become less appealing to the public.

Where can you go for sustainable food product development?

Are you searching for ways that your restaurant can become more sustainable? When it comes to food product development, consider Hela Spice. Our company provides exceptional taste with sustainable food production. We are committed to quality, food safety, and sustainability while delivering good nourishment.

To taste the difference our products can make on your menu, call us at 905-852-5100 or contact us here.

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