From recycling and conservation to water usage and green energy, more consumers are growing increasingly concerned with environmentally friendly operations. Before making purchases or visiting a restaurant, many customers will research to ensure that an establishment aligns with their environmental beliefs. With such an increased awareness on the part of consumers, restaurants now have increased responsibility.
With eco-friendly practices becoming an expectation in the restaurant industry, establishments must look for ways to change their operations. While incorporating sustainable practices is appealing to your customers and good for the environment, it can also help reduce costs. Changing over restaurant operations to more eco-friendly practices is an evolutionary process, however, and the entire team must commit to it. Let’s take a look at some tips for running a sustainable restaurant.
More than just a philosophy, going green is a way of thinking and acting. Restaurants of all shapes and sizes are making a conscious effort to minimize their footprints by taking steps to use all recyclable materials. When considering all of the materials that a restaurant uses, it’s easy to find areas where recycling might be possible. From drinking straws and napkins to pizza boxes and utensils, one easy way to create a sustainable establishment is to use only products that can be properly recycled.
One area where you might consider going green is with your equipment. A small step that you can take is ensuring that all of your tables, pans, pots, utensils, and other equipment are recyclable and environmentally friendly. Stainless steel is a popular material for restaurant equipment and is easily recycled into other products around the world. From your pizza prep tables to your shelves, drawers, and even cutting boards, you’ll want to make sure that they are made from stainless steel or other recyclable materials.
To the greatest extent possible, an easy way to run a sustainable restaurant is to cut down on waste. This includes looking at how food is made and consumed. Many eateries prepare foods such as french fries and chicken wings by deep-frying them. With this type of food preparation, however, comes massive amounts of used cooking oil. In the past, a majority of restaurants would put their old gallons of oil into a sealed container and dispose of it.
Today, more sustainable practices include collecting used cooking oil and selling it so that it might be used for things like biodiesel. Gallons of cooking oil are turned into biofuel each year. Additionally, restaurants can look at investing in items like reusable utensils, drinkware, and tablecloths. When items can be reused, you reduce your footprint and become a more sustainable establishment.
Energy and Appliances
Commercial kitchens rely on several appliances and pieces of electric equipment to operate. One area where many restaurants could stand to cut back is on energy usage by kitchen appliances. Refrigerators, stoves, freezers, and dishwashers are massive energy consumers. To modify kitchen operations and maximize energy usage, you could consider replacing appliances with energy-efficient rated equipment.
Accessories such as mixers and electric knives can also be evaluated for energy efficiency. Taking this step will mean an initial investment upfront, however lower energy costs, and more sustainable practices will pay off in the long run.
When creating more sustainable processes in your restaurant, there are many steps that you can take. While it can be overwhelming, the key to going green is to start small. Take smaller wins as you continue to move towards more sustainable practices.
Running a cleaner eco-friendly restaurant will take time and energy and you’ll want to do things that are meaningful and right for your restaurant. Going green, however, will impress your customers, help the planet, and help your restaurant.
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