Restaurants Face Unique Challenges When “Going Green”

Restaurants Face Unique Challenges When “Going Green”

From eco-friendly paper towels to composting, individuals are progressively minimizing their impact on the environment by implementing a variety of initiatives throughout their homes and businesses. For restaurant operators, making these environmentally-friendly changes can seem daunting, but has the potential to improve their bottom line, strengthen their relationship with their staff (especially Millennials), and demonstrate to their customers and community their business’ commitment to improving the environment. The foodservice industry is the second largest private sector industry in the United States and due to its substantial size, has the potential to make a major impact on the environment by taking a few simple and sustainable steps. Many restaurateurs simply do not know where to start, but there are plenty of easy-to-implement solutions available to restaurants that want to pursue a more sustainable future.

When it comes to transforming your establishment into an energy-efficient operation, think big but start small. Turn off the lights when leaving a room. Power down computers at night and shut down kitchen appliances immediately after you are finished with them. These practices require absolutely no monetary investment on your behalf, but will help reduce your operation’s energy usage and energy bill.

Scraping dishes, scrubbing cookware, and soaking pots and pans are all easy ways to optimize your establishment’s dishwashing procedure, while making a considerable impact upon your water bill. Your restaurant can also become more sustainable by implementing other water conservation initiatives, such as fixing leaky fixtures.

Donating surplus food is also a great way to cut down on waste management expenses and bolster community relations efforts. Build lasting relationships with the members of your community by contacting a local food bank, hunger-relief agency or organization such as the Food Donation Connection –, and finding out how your restaurant can help those in need. The more food your establishment donates, the less waste your establishment ultimately produces.

The money saved investing in more advanced sustainability initiatives will not only pay for itself, but it will also likely make your establishment money in the long run.
Your operation can advance its efforts by investing in energy-efficient appliances or even remodeling to becoming a more sustainable operation from the ground up. If your operation does wish to pursue more advanced sustainability efforts, assistance is often available through state programs and, in some locations, utilities. These initiatives could provide useful information, energy audits, or even funding to businesses that take active steps to pursue a more sustainable future.

Also available to foodservice operations is the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Sustainability Education ProgramSM. This educational program is an online resource designed by the restaurant industry for the restaurant industry. It helps restaurants to reduce energy, waste, and water—driving down costs and leaving a lighter footprint on our environment.

Participating restaurants gain access to Conserve’s easy-to-use checklist, which features more than 90 industry-tried best practices and 64 educational how-to videos, as well as money-saving techniques and a variety of other resources.

To find out more about how a Conserve can benefit your foodservice operation, click here.

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