- Restaurant

The Sustainable Food Movement in Restaurants

In practice, restaurants adopting sustainable practices might attract more customers, who will perceive the restaurant’s brand more positively. Moreover, sustainable practices can also lower operation cost by reducing energy consumption and waste production.

Vegetable gardens in some restaurants could be a sustainable strategy to reduce food waste and enhance local economies. For example: 1. other sustainable strategies may include 2.

Rethink your menu.

More restaurants these days are becoming greener: cutting food waste, waste packaging, reducing water consumption, energy use, not serving meat when possible, etc.

Overhauling your menu can both reduce waste, and provide new dishes with life. Potato skins or vegetable trimmings don’t have to be thrown away, but can be used as the basis of broths or stocks, reducing waste and, at the same time, providing new dishes with life.

Training staff (something that all restaurants do, when they can) to understand the value of every ingredient and their role in minimising waste is just as important as helping customers see that too – and, of course, because customers will want to pay for what they are eating. As well as a low-carbon option, more and more restaurants are turning to carbon offset programmes to neutralise their emissions.

Reduce your waste.

In terms of its effect on the environment, and not to mention on the profit margin, food waste is a real issue. One report stated it could increase profits by as much as 7 dollars on every dish by cutting down on waste.

Storing food properly, using FIFO methods, keeping inventory data and databases – these will reduce food waste. Restaurants can also donate their food to local food charities or sell it via digital channels such as YourLocal and Too Good to Go to avoid food being thrown away by customers.

These are the sentiments of today’s diners, who want to patronise businesses that use sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. They look for organic produce from farms that practise responsible farming, and restaurants that run in a lean manner by using less energy and water to operate.

Rethink your packaging.

Restaurants can reduce food and non-food waste by using compostable packaging, limiting water usage and minimising their footprint with delivery options, for instance. Be sure to make staff and even customers aware of what does and does not go into the compost (such as, coffee grounds, cling film, polystyrene containers or plastic cutlery to participate in ‘zero waste’ movements).

Now that the impact of climate change and ecosystem damage are becoming increasingly clear to the consumer, customers are more and more demanding of businesses to move sustainability to the forefront of their operations. In fact, one survey from 2011 showed that 80% of respondents said that sustainable practices influenced where they chose to dine – often at a higher cost – but would make sacrifices for a good cause. With such a large part of customer decision making being heavily influenced, restaurants that want to stay in business need to advertise their sustainability.

Rethink your water usage.

The Zero Waste movement began when a widely read blogger put four years’ worth of trash in a mason jar, and its presence dramatically increased when chefs, from restaurants in Dubai to Squaw Valley, began to find creative uses for otherwise considered ‘waste’, in the form of vegetable peels, butcher trimmings and stone-fruit pits. Now chefs, too, have the opportunity to become movement makers.

There are several strategies that restaurants can utilize to decrease water consumption: installing low-flow faucets in kitchens and bathrooms; implementing an energy-star program, which is an energy efficiency score system; composting food waste and non-food waste; and recycling waste into compost for producing soil amendment. In doing this, there would be simultaneously less waste in the landfill as well as more money in the restaurant budget, which can be used to invest in new equipment.

Farm to table, while sounding homespun, is now a very fashionable movement for restaurants searching for fresh ingredients, as well as helping small farmers and mitigating carbon emissions with products purchased straight from close to the source and making it to table the freshest.

Rethink your energy usage.

Although sustainable restaurant practices encompass considerations about choosing ingredients on a menu and what’s created in the kitchen and sent to the bin, cutting energy use will also reduce electricity bills and carbon emissions, lower water bills and boost your bottom line.

As consumers, we’re also choosing restaurants that promise sustainability and care for the environment by serving organic, locally grown produce; meats from animal farms with very limited output of toxic wastes; renewable to-go containers for pick-up orders.

Shortening your supply chain is a way of reducing food waste, and restaurants have started changing their habits when it comes to waste disposal by taking part in composting schemes or transferring wasted elements, such as herb stems or vegetable peels, into a new ingredient. Some are also changing the way their restaurants look, from the environmentally conscious interiors and furniture made from reclaimed materials.

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