The idea of sustainability is a broad concept for many businesses. From managing restaurant equipment use to reducing the carbon footprint with reusable products, there are numerous ways that a company can work on sustainability. With so many obstacles in the way today, many in the restaurant industry are just trying to focus on the day-to-day business rather than worry about long-term outcomes. From the COVID-19 pandemic to staff shortages and supply chain issues, many restaurant owners are just struggling to keep their heads above the water right now.
To survive the difficult climate, restaurant owners are focused on cash flow and profitable operations. Even in light of all of this, however, restaurants can still do several things to ensure sustainability and help reduce their impact on the planet. With the ethical shopping movement increasing today, many restaurants can’t afford to ignore sustainable practices. Let’s take a look at some tips for making your restaurant more sustainable.
Energy-Efficient Restaurant Equipment
As a commercial kitchen operation, your restaurant equipment is probably the biggest consumer of energy in your establishment. As a result, your refrigerator, dishwasher, freezer, and ovens are costing you money and using a lot of energy. One of your best options for reducing your carbon footprint and adopting more sustainable practices is to invest in energy-efficient restaurant equipment. While commercial kitchen equipment can be a significant investment, there are options to help decrease that burden.
Restaurant equipment leases from a supply company can provide low monthly payments and allow the equipment to pay for itself over time. New restaurant equipment that is energy efficient will also allow you to save a significant amount in energy costs in the long run. An equipment lease will allow you to purchase more sustainable, energy-efficient kitchen equipment while also saving on your bills and upgrading your business.
Restaurants require a lot of packaging, from leftover food to customer to-go orders. As a result, the restaurant industry consumes an enormous amount of plastics and styrofoam each year. However, from your straws and utensils to your packaging, many customers are more aware of environmentally friendly products and want to dine at restaurants that use them. A company like EarthwisePackaging provides plant-based, carbon-neutral packaging products that can help you incorporate more sustainable practices into your restaurant.
While these kinds of packaging options can be a little more expensive, using them could attract more customers. Once you switch to eco-friendly packaging, you can run a social messaging campaign to make customers aware of the responsible steps you are taking.
Studies have shown that reducing meat and dairy consumption may reduce environmental impacts by lowering greenhouse emissions. The growth and harvest of animals like cows emit large amounts of gases every year. Vegan and vegetarian diners will also appreciate your conscious efforts to include these options on your menu. Introducing a few meatless options on your menu will help with sustainability and appeal to various customers.
Given that the price of dairy and meat products has increased recently, switching to a few vegan and vegetarian options could also save you money. In general, produce costs less than meat. As a result, many menu options without meat can prove to offer higher profit margins. While you don’t have to completely change your menu, making the switch to a few meatless and dairy-free items can help you be more sustainable, save money, and appeal to various customers.
As 2022 is fast approaching, more consumers are interested in eco-friendly practices than ever before. From investing in energy-efficient restaurant equipment and carbon-neutral packaging to offering meatless menu options, there are a few things that most restaurants can do to be more sustainable. Additionally, recent data suggests that 60 percent of consumers seek out more sustainable establishments and pay more for their food.