Let’s face it: climate change is one of the biggest threats we face in the coming years. To prevent it, or at least slow it down, we have to work together to reduce our carbon footprint. Of course, corporations have to do the heavy lifting, but individuals and small businesses do too.
Being eco-friendly is a good choice for a restaurant. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it comes with several benefits. For one, consumers today are looking to spend their money at businesses that have a social conscience. So being green is certainly an attractive feature to them. Also, you can save a lot of money by being eco-friendly. Yes, there may be higher upfront costs, but over time you’ll save on materials and utility bills.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t make changes to be more sustainable. However, it can be hard if you don’t know where to start. Luckily for you, here are XXX tips on how to start a sustainable restaurant.
#1. Reduce Your Food Waste
This may shock you, but a full 6% of the world’s greenhouse gases come from food waste. That is a massive number, meaning that 23 billion pounds of food are wasted annually. To reduce food waste, you must take direct action beyond buying less and making smaller portions. For one, you can use a composting system. This can be either at your restaurant or off-site. Many restaurants choose not to have a composter because of the effort involved. If you are located in an area with multiple restaurants, perhaps see if they want to share.
Also, you should have a food rescue system so that less food goes to landfill. Instead of throwing out food at the end of the night, have a charity come and pick it up the next day. They can make it into other meals, like soups and sandwiches. Some various apps and services serve to connect restaurants with local shelters and soup kitchens.
#2. Reduce Your Energy Usage
You can reduce the energy you use in your restaurant in several ways. The bonus: installing energy-efficient fixtures, bulbs, and appliances will cost less in the long run and take longer to need replacing. It’s a win-win-win situation. If you’re starting a new restaurant, then make sure these are all in place before opening.
What does this mean? It means getting new appliances for opening instead of trying to save money with used ones. As appliances age, they become less efficient if they are improperly maintained. You might pay more upfront, but you will save down the road. You should also set alarms and alerts on your fridges and freezers to tell you if they are open too long.
Have energy-efficient bulbs installed all over the building. LED light bulbs can last for around 20 years, use 75% of the energy of traditional bulbs, and give off less heat. With lighting, you can also try installing motion detectors for your lights. That way, they won’t be on when needed, but if someone enters a room, perhaps with their hands full of plated dishes, the lights will automatically turn on.
#3. Sustainable Take-Out
When diners eat in your restaurant, you can give them reusable tableware and napkins to reduce waste. However, it’s takeout that’s the problem. You can’t give them reusable items, and the styrofoam containers and plastic cutlery that are used by many places are terrible for the environment.
Instead, use recyclable and biodegradable products for your takeout containers and cutlery. Be consistent and pay attention to details. Make sure that if it’s biodegradable, i.e., compostable, your customers know how to dispose of it. Compostable items must be composted and should not be thrown in the trash. Choose products that are made of eco-friendly materials, like bamboo toothpicks. There is also the option of offering reusable items. A regular customer could buy a bowl they bring back like some coffee shops do with coffee cups.
#4. Source Local Food
When food gets shipped, it often goes hundreds of miles over land in a vehicle that is burning fuel the entire way. To prevent this, source as much of your ingredients locally. It will cost more, but you can charge more to your customers. They will appreciate supporting locals; besides, good tastes better the fresher it is. Would you rather have something that was picked the day before or that was picked the week before? By purchasing locally, you also have more control over your ingredients and their quality.
#5. Offer More Meat-Free Options
The production of meat is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Methane, nitrous oxide, and CO2 are all released in the process of raising animals, slaughtering them, and processing them. If you offer fewer meat options, you will be doing your part to be less dependent on meat in people’s diets.
There are lots of options for meatless dishes. There is pasta, some soups, vegetarian chili, and the list goes on. You can also substitute certain things in place of meat, Lentils, for instance, is a good meat substitute. Tofu and chickpeas also work in place of meat in most dishes. You can have the benefit of being eco-friendly and contributing less to animal cruelty.
If you’re considering opening a restaurant in the near future, it makes all the sense in the world to try to be eco-friendly. If you make it your brand, you will attract customers just by saying that your business is sustainable and gentle on the earth. Also, if you start out with a few green attributes, you can add more as you go and learn about sustainability. The benefits of being a sustainable restaurant far outweigh the negatives since you’ll be saving more money and doing the right thing. To make sure that your sustenance business gets off on the right food, put these tips into place.