Consumers are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment and are favouring suppliers who take measures towards being more environmentally conscious and incorporating ways for their businesses to go green.
A challenge most restaurateurs will face is aligning their social responsibility with their bottom line – this is quite a task but it is not impossible. Most sustainable practices can actually save you money and still cater to an increasingly demanding customer base.
Here are 6 ideas to reduce your footprint, save money and project the kind of image your customers want to support:
Organic, local or fair trade is what you should be looking for. Organic foods do have a reputation of being costly, but this isn’t always the case. Many factors will affect the price of your organic foods, such as location, season and the actual food in questions. Examine these factors before disregarding organic food as an option on your menu. Locally sourced food can be more cost-effective than organic, non-local food. Sustainable food is not only cheaper, generally, but it also puts your money back into the local commnity.
Where you purchase your food is important. Purchasing from a local vendor or farmer’s market means a significantly shorter journey from the vender/market to your kitchen. The reduction in fuel cost is a great bonus. Customers who are passionate about supporting local will also be more inclined to support a restaurant who sources their ingredients locally.
- Thirdly, master your service:
If you want the price to appear less important and stand out from the competition then you really need to deliver some “WOW” service. You are not competing as a food business, if you were then you would be competing with the supermarkets and petrol stations. You are in the hospitality business, you create memories and great service is a crucial element in build sales. Even if your food is life changing, if your service is bad then you can wave goodbye to your customers and your profits.
- Waste & Water:
There are many simple and effective ways to reduce food waste in your restaurant. Use fish bones to make stock, re-use vegetable peels in stock and sauces where possible and watching portion sizes – these are some quick and easy ways to reduce food waste dramatically. To reduce water usage, install flow restrictors on water faucets for customers and staff.
Lights on motion-sensor systems save energy as do energy efficient light bulbs. Switch off your POS, lights and ovens at night to reduce your electricity consumption. Verify the seals on refrigeration systems, if seals are not kept clean and tight, warm air can seep which makes the fridge work harder (and consume more electricity) to stay cool.
- Chairs, Tables & Paper:
You’d be surprised at the number of disposable/single-use items in your restaurant – disposable utensils, wrapping for take-out, etc. Using items that can be washed and reused (think cloth napkins and tables cloths) is significantly better for the environment than paper.
- Cleaning Supplies:
Switch to non-toxic cleaning supplies and biodegradable soap shows your employees and guests that you care. Eco-friendly cleaning materials are often safer and can be used a selling point for your establishment. Customer and staff awareness plays an important role in making your restaurant more environmentally friendly. Gain their support by proving their well-being matters to you.
The main focus is saving the environment but the biggest advantage to your establishment is the fact this is currently trending. More and more businesses are adopting initiatives to make a difference in the world and their communities. Customers are more inclined to support a business that is trying to create a better & sustainable future.