7 Things To Make Your Restaurant ‘Greener’

Going green is more than good for the environment, it’s good for business. Not only can environmental practices make your restaurant more efficient, but it can also attract customers and build your brand. If you think going green is difficult and complicated, think again! Check out these seven strategies to make your restaurant greener.

Restaurants Going Green

Create a Seasonal Menu

Seasonal menus are hot right now, as they offer variety of choices and farm-to-table appeal. A seasonal menu is one that rotates based on the locally-grown produce and meats that are available in season. This provides peak-of-the-season flavor to the dishes your chefs create, which will turn into a reputation for flavorful dishes.

 

To create a seasonal menu, you must work with a local grower to find out what is available for sale at certain times of the year. Have your chef create foods that capitalize on these ingredients. Also, make sure your menu covers are flexible enough to swap out menu pages for each season.

 

Season Menu and Ingredients

Grow Your Own Produce

What could be more local than your own backyard? If you have room for a small garden, or access to such space, consider growing your own produce. Even if all you can grow is a few herbs, the fresh flavor they will provide to your dishes will speak for itself. Plus, you can reduce pollution by eliminating the need to transport these ingredients to your restaurant.

 

Consider, for example, Roberta’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn. This small restaurant grows herbs, tomatoes, eggplants, and greens in two shipping containers it re-purposed in its backyard. With 20 percent of its produce coming from its own garden, Roberta’s Pizzeria saves money while also improving the freshness and flavor of the dishes it serves to guests.

 

This particular strategy is fairly easy to implement. Find a sunny spot in your yard, add a container or dig up some dirt and start growing!

 

Use Menu Covers

Paper menus are a danger to the eco-friendly image you wish to create. When patrons use paper menus, there’s likely to be spills and other damages to the menu. Over time the paper degrades even if it is not damaged.

 

Menu covers provide a solution. Menu covers not only protect the paper, and thus allow you to use your menus longer, but they also make your business look more professional. To go the extra mile, consider printing your menus on recycled paper.

 

Compost

One of the biggest eco-problems a restaurant faces is food waste. It’s a fact of the industry that your patrons are not going to eat everything you serve them. Sometimes food is also wasted when a dish does not turn out the way it should. To put your food waste to good use, consider composting your organic materials. Fruit, vegetables, salad greens, and more can become valuable fertilizer for your backyard garden.

 

Of course, you may not have time to create your own compost bin, or you may not have space for a backyard garden. Instead, contract with a local composting facility to send your composting materials to the right place. You will be reducing waste, and they will benefit from the rich compostable materials you produce as a restaurant.

 

Donate Excess Food

Did you know that 4 to 10 percent of food service food purchased by restaurants and other food service companies ends up as pre-consumer waste? This is a significant amount of food that is thrown out due to vegetable trimming, overproduction, food that spoils, and food that is burned. Some of that waste can actually be used more effectively by donating it to a soup kitchen or  local food bank.

 

To do this, you will need to contact the local homeless shelter to find out the rules about what they can and cannot accept. There may also be non-profit organizations in your area that specialize in transporting eligible food from restaurants to distributing partners. Once you know the rules, send over any excess you have to help out those in need!

Serving Sustainable Seafood

Serve Sustainable Seafood

Poor practices of the fishing industry is very damaging to the ocean and river environments. Overfishing, bycatch (catching other creatures that are not part of the intended catch), and overall damage to bodies of water are creating a serious problem for sea life. You can help reduce the harm by partnering with a sustainable fish hatchery for seafood at your restaurant.

 

Many companies are using Earth-friendly means to grow fish to supply for food, and buying that fish for your restaurant ensures you are doing your part to protect oceans and waterways. By listing this information on your menu, you can also improve your reputation with you patrons.

 

Train Your Staff

Keep your staff in the know about Earth-friendly practices, such as only offering water if it is requested and sorting composting material when you clear the plates off of a table. If your staff is passionate about protecting the environment and touting your eco-friendly practices to patrons, your job will be much easier as you try to go green.

Environmentally Friendly Practices For Your Restaurant

In today’s economy, where customers want to spend money with companies who are working to protect the environment, going green makes good business sense. By implementing these strategies in your restaurant, you can be part of the movement and attract more customers to your restaurant.