If there’s a concept that you should consider incorporating in your restaurant, the concept of a green restaurant should be on your list. In an industry where waste is always part of its operations, trying to adopt sustainable dining requires commitment. It’s not just a concept, but it’s a lifestyle change that can lead you to lots of opportunities as long as you stick with it.
As a restaurant owner, you must already know that you’re not in control of everything. No matter how hard you train your restaurant staff, if they don’t apply their training to their work, it’s still useless. This is the main reason why you must hire staff not just based on their skills and competencies, but they should also understand your business philosophies. Through this, it’ll be easier for you to introduce new concepts and ideas as you’re both aligned with the same goals.
Restaurants are not just a dining place, it also holds a responsibility to educate its customers. Going green helps you encourage customers to slowly adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. By showing them it can be done through dining experience without having to lower the quality of the meal and service, they’ll be more interested to continue down this path.
Being eco-friendly is not just a concept, but it’s a trend that was set to meet the demands of the environmentally sound millennials. It’s also been force-fed to consumers by marketers who tried to attach the word on every product, leading to consumers being attached to the eco-friendly lifestyle.
But it’s not just about business, scientific studies show that dining concepts and diets can affect the environment. From the way you source your produce and other resources, up to the way you serve it to your customers, you hold the power to contribute to the success of the worldwide battle for the environment. Taking initiative may not be easy at first, but there are simple ways you can show your customers that your restaurant is now environmental-friendly. Of course, without having to sacrifice the quality of food and service that you serve.
The best way to encourage modern diners into sustainable dining is to show them that they can still enjoy high-quality food and service or even better than your previous service, even though you apply some environmentally sound decisions to your restaurant. If you’re still looking for ways to easily introduce this concept, read along to find out some of the most simple yet effective ways of becoming a green restaurant. Do it as you mean it, do it like a pro. Embrace your power to influence customers, and give them an additional takeaway- a sustainable and environmental-friendly lifestyle.
Work on Your Energy Consumption
There are different ways on how you can adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle, you may start working with your energy consumption. While you don’t have the entire authority over energy consumption, there are areas in which you have entire control over it.
Utilize energy-saving types of equipment
First, you may opt to change your equipment one unit or section at a time. You may start with your HVAC system then work on your way up to your lighting. Identify first how much energy your restaurant is using by conducting an energy audit. The results of this process can also help you track the progress of your going-green initiative.
When purchasing equipment, look for the Energy Star certified appliances, as these are the appliances that are equipped with technology that helps them use and save energy efficiently. You may also want to consider using LED, halogen, and CFL bulbs to minimize energy consumptions through your lighting. Maintain a well-lit restaurant without the risk of having to pay higher electric bills.
Install different types of sensors
It may appear that you’re incorporating more electronics into your operations, but these sensors are also energy-efficient. There are different sensors that you can use in your restaurant to help you reduce your energy consumption. Incorporate a greenhouse restaurant design by putting motion sensor lights on your restrooms. You can’t just place your trust entirely on the customers and wait for them to turn off the lights every time they exit your restrooms.
Occupancy sensors in freezers are also helpful to ensure that the equipment is automated to shut down to minimize energy usage.
Inspect the equipment
Conduct a health inspection for your equipment and appliances. Make sure that you’re using and placing them strategically. There are newly introduced equipment and appliances that can do the job of a three air conditioning unit. Keep yourself updated and informed about the technologies that can help you with your eco-conscious initiative.
Once every appliance and equipment is placed, check out if there is leakage or blockage. A blocked condenser coil on refrigerators causes it to work harder, and to use more energy than usual. Avoid this type of situation by ensuring the maintenance and repair of every appliance and equipment you have.
Checking the leakage on your windows can also help you reduce your energy consumption. If there is leakage on your windows, chances are your entire HVAC system needs to work harder and consume more energy. Keep your electric usage minimal by making sure all airways are properly sealed.
Invest in renewable energy
This step may cost you a bit more than the first ones, but this is also one of the most proven ways of adopting a sustainable and eco-friendly dining lifestyle. Using different types of renewable energy can help you reduce your energy consumption dramatically. It’s a long-term commitment.
It may be a lot of work, but you may start connecting one unit at a time. Try connecting your one air conditioning unit to your solar panels or wind-powered turbines and see how well it will work for your restaurant. Renewable energy is ideal because it collects energy from natural resources (sun, wind, water), which every location is very abundant, then recharges over time.
Reduce Your Water Consumption
Going green is not just about using electricity wisely, it’s about trying to minimize the waste of eerie natural resources that we have. There is energy-saving equipment, of course, there are also water-saving utilities. Customers expect restaurants to be squeaky-clean because it involves food preparations. Washing of hands should come in nature, and overall cleanliness should be observed.
For restaurants, the kitchen area produces huge water consumption because it’s needed for food preparation, cooking, and dishwashing. Ensure that every faucet is well-maintained and no leaks are to be found, flow restrictors are also helpful. Train your restaurant staff to use water efficiently. When washing their hands, it is best to turn off the faucet if they are still in the soaping process. It may look like a small move on your end, but if put all together, it carries a great impact on your initiative.
Domestic and restroom use is the next highest water consumption, producer. Minimize it by utilizing water-saving utilities such as low-flush toilets.
Manage Your Food Waste
Another section where you have full control of your restaurant is how you manage to reduce your food costs. Food waste is one of the major culprits inside the Restaurant Industry, and it is completely up to you if you’ll continue to succumb to the old ways where food waste is treated as a natural phenomenon and the management doesn’t do anything about it.
You have the capability of improving your food waste management. Work on the areas you have complete control over like on your kitchen and service areas, and see what are the steps that you can apply to move forward with your ecological initiative.
Zero-waste food preparation
It is completely attainable! Zero-waste cooking can be done in different ways, you can use the leftover vegetable as a vegetable stock, or even the chicken and other meat bones in broths and stocks. Extra leaves and vegetable cutouts can be used as garnishes. Let your kitchen staff know that they can be creative as long as the process that they will use still complies with food safety codes.
There’s also a trending method where you can buy a huge piece of meat and cut it in different ways. It’s a more sustainable way of managing meats, rather than buying meats that are already cut yet you still have to polish it and just throw out the parts that are not part of your meal.
If there are workable leftovers, reach out to local charities and social workers where you can send food donations. Those bread who never made it to the table will be a huge help for others.
Optimize inventory management
Reducing food waste should start with your inventory management. Establish an inventory management system where you can monitor and track all the transactions for your inventory. Avoid over-stocking to prevent food spoilage. Apply the FIFO method to ensure that the ingredients will be used in their best condition.
Use inventory management software to identify your inventory turnover ratio for you to have an idea of how long is the shelf life of every ingredient that you have.
Adopt Recyclable and Reusable Supplies
Continue to support your eco-conscious initiative by incorporating different recyclable and reusable tools in your restaurant. You may also want to check out how you can adopt a greenhouse restaurant design for your restaurant.
While it’s great eye-candy, decorations on your restaurants do not necessarily need to be always brand-new. Unleash your creativity and reuse it in a completely different manner, especially if it’s still in a good condition. The dining experience of your customers will be affected if you use the same Christmas tree.
You may also want to try checking out thrift shops and auction sites and look for vintage decors such as lighting fixtures. Some fixtures are made out of renewable wood that is just as sturdy and decorative as others. Look for different decors that will suit your restaurant’s concept and you can save up your costs while saving this planet.
Customers prioritize safety first, while using reusable utensils may appear risky for now, you just have to share with your customers your safety and health practices to maintain food safety. If your target audience is still not convinced, there are recyclable utensils that you can introduce to stay aligned on your initiative.
Using cloth linens can also help you reduce your carbon footprint as you don’t have to waste paper napkins for every customer. Just make sure that you’ll wash and dry it properly for hygienic purposes.
As mentioned, marketers took this trend to a different level. They managed to create an industry of organic and eco-friendly warriors. If you’re committed to your green initiative you may also want to try out using biodegradable and non-toxic cleaning supplies. By using these types of supplies, you also show your restaurant staff and customers that you’re taking care of their overall well-being.
Non-toxic and organic ingredients are by and large safer compared to that chemically-infused dishwashing and handwashing liquid soaps.
It’s time to ditch styrofoams and plastic bags. Though some claimed that they produced more eco-friendly plastic, there are still lots of alternatives for those traditional plastic disposables. Incorporate different sustainable and eco-friendly materials such as bamboo and sugarcane for your takeaway packaging.
There are different movements and initiatives such as the Last Straw Movement that you can partner with to strengthen your eco-initiatives.
Produce a Feasible Menu
Adopt a holistic approach to going green by creating a menu that will utilize sustainable ingredients. In the UK, there are different diet trends that you can use to guide you in re-creating your menu in a greener and more eco-friendly way. Twelve percent of the population intend to become vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian. If you’re thinking that it’s still not worth it, Twenty percent of the Gen Z population are already following a meat-free diet.
Start using plant-based ingredients as an alternative for meat, but of course, you have to state it properly on your menu and include it in the description. This is to let your customers know about the ingredients and what are the possible allergens that it contains. Most of the plant-based ingredients are composed of soy milk, which is one of the top allergy triggers.
But you don’t have to completely change up your menu to a vegan or vegetarian one. A greenhouse restaurant menu can be composed of both meat and plant-based products. Just make sure to adopt eco-friendly practices while preparing your meats and produce.
Update your menu according to what’s the seasoned ingredients. You can add up different meals on your menu using seasonal ingredients. Why is it considered sustainable? It helps the local suppliers to replenish their supplies, at the same time it helps you save on your food costs as these ingredients are available abundantly and at their lowest price.
The way you source your food product carries a huge impact on your green initiative. Worry not as there are different practical ways you can source your food product and ingredients without straying away on your eco-initiative.
First, you can choose to source out from local produce suppliers. Go hyper-local and reduce the traveling time of the ingredients and produce. Reduced traveling time also minimizes the risk of food spoilage. It is also a great marketing opportunity for you as you can share to your customers that you’re supporting local businesses and you’re observing a farm-to-table service, where you ensure that they can enjoy farm-fresh food items.
If you have a great workable space, you may also opt to grow your produce. Start with vegetables and fruits, through this you can ensure that your customers are getting the highest-quality ingredients as you’re the ones who managed them. You can serve farm-fresh ingredients as you can just pick them from your backyard.
Lastly, if you don’t have a space to create your produce garden, and there are no local suppliers available in your local community, just change how you usually source out ingredients. Buy out ingredients and stocks in bulk. Work on your inventory management to ensure that you’ll be buying the correct volume of food orders without sacrificing its quality and freshness.
Lesser travel time for produce deliveries means lesser food waste and lesser carbon generation.
Benefits of Becoming a Green Restaurant
Here are the benefits your restaurant will enjoy once you start adopting a more ecological sound concept.
- Invoice for a deluxe service. Customers are willing to pay more if they are supporting an initiative, more so if it’s to help the environment. You have the leeway to charge higher as it’s considered a premium service. You’re boosting your sales while boosting support for your environment.
- Cost-efficient. Going green leads you to save you from your usual operational costs such as utility costs, food costs, and even maintenance costs.
- Better marketing. Your restaurant brand will start to appeal to different types of audiences, especially those who’re trying to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It’ll be easier for you to market your services, as chances are your customers will be the ones who will voluntarily do your marketing for you.
- Wider customer engagement. A lot of modern consumers are now more eco-conscious about their lifestyle, and the Restaurant Industry is also trying to appeal to the eco-population. While there are plenty of eco-initiatives, establishments are still having a hard time adapting and committing to it. Be one of the pioneers, and go green while it’s easy.