Ethically sourced fish, meat, and dairy. Conscious waste management. Energy efficiency. These are just a few of the values that sustainable restaurants live by. But sustainable restaurants aren’t gaining in popularity solely because they’re better for the environment.
Consider your basic ingredient. A tomato that makes the short trek from a local farm to your dining room fork is going to be fresher than the one that’s been shipped from 3,000 miles away. Fresher translates to better quality and flavor, as well as greater health benefits. More and more customers choose to dine at sustainable restaurants for these reasons—the fact that their utensils are recyclable is an added bonus.
Here are 5 tips for running a sustainable restaurant and reaping the benefits all around:
Grow on site. What consumes less gas than a drive to or from your nearest farm? A walk to your own backyard. Beyond the smaller footprint, growing your own leads to greater autonomy, not to mention that it’s a lot of fun. On-site plots can be versatile, ranging from a small greenhouse to window herb containers.
Use eco-friendly products. Already using recycled cups and to-go boxes? The range of recycled products has grown and can extend to every area of your restaurant. That means your kitchen mats and toilet paper can be made from recycled materials, too. For maintaining a spotless counter, switch to non-toxic cleaning supplies.
Save energy. Did you know that cutting three hours of use per day can reduce patio heating costs by $530 per year? And fixing leaky sinks, mop-stations, and dishwashers can save you $1,000? Energy Star’s guide for restaurants provides these and other tips little tricks your business can try in order to save money and energy.
Reduce waste. Restaurants aren’t like your typical office. Recycling here extends beyond soda cans and printer paper. Your fryer oil can be converted at a biofuel company, your produce boxes can be broken down, and much of the food discarded while cooking and by patrons can be used for compost.
Pour organic. Does your wine and beer selection include organic options? Including these options shows extra effort to go above and beyond your traditional restaurant. Today’s organic or biodynamic wines and brews are growing in favor, and several labels are available to choose from.
What’s even better than recycling paper? Not using it in the first place! According to ForceChange, those tiny slips of paper used for printing receipts add up to 640,000 tons per year. That’s why the Revel iPad POS system includes a paperless/email receipt option, saving you cartridge ink at the same time.