What is a sustainable restaurant?

What does it mean to run a sustainable restaurant?

“Sustainability” has been thrown around quite frequently these days as it relates to restaurants.  But what does it mean to be a sustainable restaurant and what can you do to employ these practices in your business?

Make sure your sustainability plan fits your restaurant and business model

Practicing sustainability is great for the environment and is something every business owner should explore. If you decide to move forward, be sure that these practices are incorporated seamlessly into daily operations.  What may work for another restaurant may not be feasible for your business without severe disruption.  Be sure to explore all options before implementing new policies and procedures.

Restaurant composting

Composting organic waste is one of the easiest ways to practice sustainability.  Turn your organic waste into mulch for the plants and flowers around your business.  If possible, explore putting in a small garden near your restaurant for herbs and easily grown vegetables.

Reinvest efficiency savings into other efficiency projects

If you have already made the leap into a sustainable restaurant and are recognizing savings,  reinvest those savings into additional efficiency projects.  For example, if you replaced your paper towels with accelerated hand dryers you are sure to realize cost savings over the year.   Put those saved dollars to work for you by installing LED lighting.  Create a long term plan for significant savings over multiple years.

Be proud of your sustainable restaurant, tell everyone

Use your sustainable restaurant in a marketing plan.  Broadcast in social media, advertise on your website, tell everyone and be proud of your accomplishments.  This “green message” is a important and your customers and potential customers will take notice.

Pay close attention to energy efficient restaurant equipment

Cash flow can be tight for restauranteurs from time to time but think long term.  Buying an energy efficient fryer for $1400 versus a $700 traditional fryer will cost you more immediately but you will recognize more savings over the life of your business.  Local utility companies often will provide rebates to energy efficient restaurants.  Efficiency saves you money over time.

Build your menu based on your local farm market

Creating a simple menu made from fresh ingredients that you can get at your local farmers market is a great way to practice sustainability.   Seasonal menus provide excitement and variation that will impress your customers while supporting local farmers.

Evaluate your restaurant waste regularly

Operators should evaluate their restaurant waste on a regular basis.  Pay attention to food waste compared to portion sizes and recyclables that are coming through.  Find the sources of your waste and take steps to eliminate.




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