10 Ways to Make Your Restaurant Eco-Friendly

An environmentally-friendly restaurant is more important than ever nowadays. In the past several years, trends have shown that consumers increasingly value sustainability, waste reduction, and other demonstrations of Corporate Social Responsibility, also known as CSR. As customers grow more concerned about combating climate change, decreasing pollution and positively impacting the world on a large scale, small businesses like restaurants need to meet these new standards by turning their attention toward reducing their carbon footprint, developing sustainable management systems and materials, and overall making choices that are good for the environment.

Restaurants seeking ways to make their operations more eco-friendly should consider following these ten tips, separated into food-focused ideas and changes centered on your operations.

A New Diet

You can make great strides toward becoming more eco-friendly simply by changing what products you buy and how you use them.

  1. Rely on seasonal foods using natural ingredients.
  2. Use traditional cooking methods like smoking, marinating and fermentation. Artisan cooking has a better impact on the environment and is also considered to create better-tasting food containing more nutrients than relying on industrial processes.
  3. Develop a better storage system. Label products and keep track of your inventory to better manage your stock, reduce how often things go bad and minimize how much waste you output. Some Point of Sale systems, like the one created by eatOS, will track and analyze your inventory for you to take out the guesswork and headache.
  4. Find new uses for ingredients. Just because something has ripened too much or sat out too long to be used for its intended dish doesn’t mean it can’t be repurposed into something else, like sauce.
  5. Reduce portion sizes. In recent years, portion sizes have gotten two to eight times larger than the standard laid out by the USDA—which of course means leftovers that patrons can’t possibly finish. Scale down your serving sizes to what people can and will actually eat and watch your food waste decrease significantly.

Learn more about how you can reduce food waste in your restaurant, which ultimately leads to greater sustainability and better Corporate Social Responsibility.

Your Suppliers & You

What you buy and how you use it matters just as much as where it came from, and the delivery streams used to get that product to your stockroom. Once the food has been ethically sourced you still need to ensure that the rest of your restaurant is equally considerate of its ecological impact.

  1. Curate your suppliers. Partner with local, fair trade suppliers who use biodegradable materials in their deliveries and make timely shipments which cuts down on fuel. Supporting environmentally-friendly vendors in your supply chain encourages others to get green and shows that you mean business.
  2. Use sustainable equipment. Hold yourself to the same standards that you set for your suppliers. Use less water and install water-saving products in your bathrooms; get an internal filtration system to cut back on bottled water; use chemical-free cleaning products, which are better for the environment as well as your customers’ health; implement sustainable furniture and utensils, made from recycled materials instead of plastic or foam; and become energy efficient via low-consumption lighting, air conditioning, ventilation and more.
  3. Make the most of leftover food. Form partnerships with local businesses that distribute leftovers to people in need, and donate your food to them. The scraps people don’t finish in the restaurant can be separated out into compost and recycling stations in the kitchen. Turning would-be waste into recycled food benefits the community and reduces your carbon footprint to create a better planet.
  4. Go digital. Cutting down on paper usage is great for the environment. Restaurant technology has advanced to the point where machines can handle most of your operations for you through one smart POS hub, completely paperless. Get a demo with eatOS to learn about how we can do our part to make your restaurant more eco-friendly.
  5. Train your staff and inform your customers. Now that you’ve made all these great changes to your operations, it’s time to educate your staff on your new eco-friendly initiative to ensure seamless integration into their day-to-day service. Also let your customers know the changes you’ve made to help the environment; do this subtly by donating 10% of their purchases to a good cause, or announce your dedication to sustainability on your menu or signs in the storefront.

Creating a sustainable restaurant with high CSR is better for your customers, your profits and the world at large. With these ten steps geared toward altering your approach to food and operations, you can turn your restaurant into an eco-friendly hub for everyone to enjoy.

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