Running a restaurant is quite complex and there are new challenges coming up that restaurant owners have to deal with, which only makes the whole thing more complicated. Still, there is no way to avoid the changes in demands and requirements and the only way to go is to learn how to meet them. One of the most prominent trends is naturally the idea that a restaurant should be as eco-friendly as possible. So, how can that be achieved to the benefit of our planet, while at the same time contributing to successful business results?
Food waste reduction
Every restaurant is looking for ways to reduce food waste, since that is equal to burning money. It is estimated that an average restaurant wastes between 25,000 and 75,000 pounds of food each year, which is a staggering number. One way to deal with this issue is to use technology and software solutions that send alerts to you when inventory is nearing expiration. They can also help you get a real-time look at inventory, so you don’t over-order.
You can also put stickers with a “use by” date on all ingredients and instruct your chefs to first use those closest to expiring. Finally, you can donate surplus food to a food pantry. Not only will you reduce waste, but you’ll also help those in need, which will also create a very positive image of your establishment.
Energy Efficient Appliances
One more way is to invest in energy efficient appliances. This should be seen as an investment that will soon pay off. You may not have the funds to replace all appliances at once, but as soon as there is a need to upgrade equipment, make sure you find appliances that use less energy without impacting performance.
Make your cleaning routine green
Traditional and conventional cleaning products are harmful to the environment, since they contain harsh chemicals, which don’t break down, but pollute the air. You should instead use eco-friendly brands and products, which don’t contain such elements, but can do the job really well.
It may seem like a small step, but the introduction of a reliable mobile POS system will not only make it easier and quicker to receive and process orders, but you’ll also be wasting no paper for the orders. Such a system can facilitate various types of payment and it can help you track orders and see table status in real-time.
Go local and grow your own produce
If you buy ingredients from local farms, you’ll save a lot of money on transport and reduce carbon emissions. If the produces are in season, they’ll be likely to be cheaper than the same products shipped in from your distributor. You may start small by bringing in just a few local product or even grow your own produce or herbs. Your roof or patio could be turned into a mini-garden, which will not only look great, but also be extremely useful and eco-friendly.
Reducing, reusing and recycling
If you reduce waste, reuse containers and recycle materials, your restaurant will become much more sustainable. For example, you can introduce chlorine-free, recycled paper instead of your regular toilet paper and paper towels or buy kitchen and bar mats made entirely from recycled material.
Needless to say, you should recycle wood boxes, glass bottles and cardboard, as well as exchange plastic and Styrofoam materials for reusable cups and recyclable containers. Finally, ditch those plastic straws and use an eco-friendly alternative.
Be smart with water
Conserving water is of vital importance for several reasons. Some are related to your expenditure, but even more important is the fact that water is probably the most precious natural resource. To deal with this issue, you might want to equip your facilities with water-saving toilets to reduce the amount of water used with every flush or switch from bottled water to an in-house filtration system.
Use solar panels to heat water in your eco-friendly restaurant. Many local and state governments offer grants and rebates for solar panels, so check that option as well.
You should definitely go green. You can still satisfy your guests, attract new ones and, thus, improve your business results. What’s more, you’re going to help our planet by applying these tips, which is something we should all strive to do.
Salman Zafar is an ecopreneur, consultant, advisor, speaker and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection, conservation and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Salman is the Founder of EcoMENA, a popular voluntary organization based in Qatar. He is also the Founder and CEO of BioEnergy Consult, a reputed consulting firm active in biomass, waste-to-energy and waste management segments.
Salman is a professional environmental writer with more than 350 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass environmental awareness in different parts of the world.
Salman Zafar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com