Being sustainable is something that everyone is now conscious of. It makes solid business sense to make the switch for your restaurant as it’ll help push your business into a more profitable future. It’s not hard to feel overwhelmed by the climate battle we face every day but seeing restaurants take a stand to act more sustainable, gives customers the confidence to do so in their lives and they can learn new ways to become sustainable.
But how does a restaurant become sustainable?
Typically, the best practices for restaurants to follow to minimise their impact on the planet is to address issues such as where they buy their produce from, how it’s delivered and how it’s packaged.
There is a range of industry trends for you to follow in order for you to do your part.
Include more vegan and vegetarian options to your menu
Seems like an obvious choice but the benefits are outstanding. Because the majority of livestock farming has become unsustainable, people are looking to reduce their meat intake more and more every year and now they’re looking to restaurants to do the same. Selling more plant-based or vegetable-based dishes can help combat the issues that farming has produced.
On top of this, you will also attract a new customer base who are eco-conscious. There are plenty of wins associated with including vegan and vegetarian options.
Look for small wins inside your restaurant
Small wins can include:
– Cut down on paper usage by switching from paper menus and receipts to digital versions.
– Replace paper napkins with linen ones. This will increase your laundry expense but it’ll avoid thousands of paper napkins ending up in landfills.
– Switch to biodegradable bin bags instead of standard ones which can take decades to decompose.
– Cut down on your energy usage by installing automated lights and encouraging your staff to switch off things before they leave at night. You can also look to switch to an eco-friendlier energy supplier.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Start using local suppliers for your food to help minimise the carbon footprint associated with your produce. On top of it helping the environment, there’s also the benefit of receiving better quality ingredients that may be picked or produced on the same day. By sourcing more local, organic ingredients, you can reduce the social and environmental impact of doing business.
Throwing away a customer’s unfinished meal seems like an easy option. 2.87 million tonnes of food and packaging waste is produced by the hospitality industry every year (according to WRAP statistics) and less than half of it is recycled. If you’re finding that your restaurant is contributing to this, start looking at the dishes that people don’t finish and reduce the portion size. Also, start looking at which items aren’t ordered and cut these from your menu. This will save you from throwing away ingredients and help reduce the amount of waste in our landfills.
Still finding that you have waste? Look to join schemes where you can sell or donate your left-over ingredients. There are plenty of schemes available that offer food to the less fortunate and you can be one of them.
Grow it yourself
Look at which ingredients you can grow yourself and start your own kitchen garden for your restaurant. This is a fantastic way to teach both you and your staff about how ingredients grow and it’ll give a new appreciation for the items in your cooking. Still finding that what you grow goes to waste? They can go back into the garden as compost.
One thing you have to understand is that this can not all be done at once, this will be a long process of having to change the way you think and act. It’s well within your best interest to start as soon as possible to help the impact of global warming. Businesses that neglect sustainable practices are beginning to become less appealing to customers and those who are taking note are beginning to thrive.
There is no endpoint with sustainability. You can continually improve your practices over time to reduce costs, reduce carbon footprint and help create a better world for all of us.