Going Green: Make Your Restaurant Eco-Friendly on a Budget

Customers place increased importance on sustainability nowadays, which means businesses are doing it too. People prefer patronizing businesses that share an interest in the same causes that matter to them, for example, The environment. If leveraged right, making your restaurant greener will attract more customers and encourage them to stay and become loyal. With the right knowledge in your arsenal and a fair amount of preparation, you can avoid the weighty costs of going green and find an affordable middle-ground that works for you.

Some of these systems take a lot to implement both energy-wise and financially. Done right, though, and customers will keep coming back to you because they can feel good about spending their money at an eco-friendly business.

Realism

From the outset, it’s best to have a clear idea of what you intend to do. That way you can follow the plan moving forward and it will become a naturally integrated aspect of day-to-day operations.

Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What do I want to do? What do my customers want?
  • What are other, similar restaurants doing? How can I adopt those ideas for my own business?
  • How do I achieve these goals? What are the steps to get there?
  • What can I afford? How can I rearrange my goals to achieve something more affordable?
  • What’s sustainable? From a business standpoint, what can we reasonably maintain over the long term?

Make lists of the things you want, how you currently use energy, and any ideas for making forward progress. It’s okay to be imperfect; nobody can reasonably do everything the greenest possible way. Just stay realistic and organized, as this will make it easier to achieve those attainable goals.

A cost-benefit analysis might help here, too. Separate from potential next steps, you can figure out what’s realistic for your budget, trim the fat where need be, and more easily implement the next phase of the process.

Research

Once you know what you want, you need to figure out how to get it. Research the effectiveness of your current equipment, checking industry ratings, and looking out for potential upgrades. The more you can use what you already have, the more you save by avoiding full-on replacements. If something’s not working, or could work better, consider making an investment and buying something new.

For example, cleaning supplies. Everyone has them but some are better than others. You can’t upgrade what you’ve got but you can replace them with chemical-free products that are better for the environment as well as your guests. You can also upgrade to more energy-efficient appliances, reusable items instead of single-use plastic, sustainable water and filtration systems, and more; every little bit helps decrease your carbon footprint and become a little more green. Learn more about implementing effective, eco-friendly changes in your restaurant.

Whatever you decide to do, know your options and alternatives first. This is how you’ll figure out the best decision to make.

Community

Everything works better together. By linking up with other businesses in the area, you can collectively create a better world. For example, reach out to local restaurants and see if you can combine any of your systems or operations. If you can put together your deliveries, for example, you reduce excess energy expenditure in that part of the supply chain. You could also share waste disposal systems and gather your excess food to donate to local organizations that distribute it to people in need; reducing food waste is one big step toward becoming more green. Learn about other ways to reduce food waste in your restaurant.

You can link up with your suppliers, too, and start conversations about how to help each other reduce waste. Of course, you won’t understand each other’s operations fully because you’re each the expert at your own business. By building a dialogue, you’ll see how it all comes together and make plans to optimize efficiency, similar to streamlining operations by linking up with other restaurants in the area.

Don’t stop there. There are a lot of resources that restaurants can rely on to go greener, like environmental groups and agencies, outreach programs, local activists, and organizations dedicated to helping small businesses become more eco-friendly.

With all this in mind, begin making a plan to develop a more environmentally-friendly restaurant with a budget that works for you. You save money, help the planet and make your customers happier, leading to higher loyalty and an overall more efficient business moving forward. Now you’re a little less green at going green.

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