Restaurants Market Sustainability by Engaging Employees, Customers

Restaurants Market Sustainability by Engaging Employees, Customers

Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the conservation challenges that face businesses today and are quick to commend those establishments that take the initiative to reduce their overall environmental impact. By making environmentally-friendly changes, restaurants demonstrate their commitment to the environment and can strengthen their relationships with their customers and employees.

For example, restaurants that are taking steps to improve their environmental sustainability can inform their guests of their environmental improvement efforts. These efforts and customer education can differentiate one restaurant from its competition. Customers who live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle will often make an effort to support and frequent restaurants that support and foster their values. Plus, many surveys show that younger customers—particularly Millenials and Moms—are among the most interested in patronizing businesses with strong records of environmental stewardship.

In addition, restaurant employees are often the biggest supporters of an employer’s efforts to conserve.

“My employees are so into this and enjoy it. When it comes to conservation, they really know their stuff.”

Joey Terrell, Owner of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) registered restaurant and Participant in the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Sustainability Education ProgramSM

In order to publicize your ongoing commitment to sustainability, try adding the following three suggestions into your business schedule:

  • Communicate your efforts. One of the benefits of implementing sustainable practices throughout your establishment is the opportunity to share your efforts with customers and employees. Be transparent in your messaging (check out the Federal Trade Commissions’ Green Guidelines) and address what you have implemented, areas where you have difficulties, and how you are addressing these issues.
  • Get involved with local environmental projects and programs. By supporting local environmental efforts, you can make your restaurant’s commitment to sustainability visible to the community. You can do this by donating food /meals to fundraising events and/or to local hunger relief agencies, like the Food Donation Connection –, collecting guest donations, or hosting events to discuss sustainability causes.
  • Involve and engage your employees. Creating a “Green Team” to help coordinate your sustainable efforts is an easy way to get your employees involved with the decision-making process and boost morale. You can utilize your “Green Team” to help identify areas of opportunity, provide suggestions for future efforts, or train other staff members on green policies and procedures.

These program administration initiatives are part of the more than 90 best practices featured in the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Sustainability Education Program. Other best practices focus on topics such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, building and construction and water conservation. To find out more about Conserve and how it can benefit your operation, visit

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