Can the business of food pave the way in imagining a business model that is built to serve meals and the planet?
The demand for restaurants to be sustainable continues to rise as customers look to shop and buy from environmentally-friendly businesses. It is time for restaurants to shape up and address issues surrounding farming practices, food wastage, packaging, water and energy consumption, recycling, and more.
1. Shop (even more) Local
The one we all know, but are guilty of not always practicing, an effort to shop locally. Not only are local goods typically tastier and farmed with less or no harmful pesticides.
There are the usual local markets, and the popularity of locally sourced items is expected to grow. Many companies now focus on reducing food waste by using less than "perfect" foods, or even nearing expiration goods, that every day consumers subscribe to receive. E commerce players, including Food Service Direct are currently expanding digital marketplaces where local farms can sell produce online, and expand buyers beyond the weekly farmer's market.
2. Recycle AND Compost
It's estimated that restaurants alone generate roughly 22-33 billion pounds of food waste every year. To start, research nearby compost and recycle services, add compost bins near prep areas, and use recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable materials in the kitchen.
You don't need to create your own garden or even grow your micro greens in a glass display case, it may be as simple as, dropping off to a garden that already composts - but be sure to let guests know you do this, since it is something diners are caring more and more about knowing.
3. Strategically Plan Menu Items
Many dishes create unnecessary waste. But with a thoughtful and strategic menu, certain food items can be used for multiple different meals that will ultimately save your restaurant money in the long run.
You know how soup is made, often with leftover meats - now imagine menu items that don't produce excess waste in the process. Shelling shrimp for the menu's top selling seafood dish? Make a stock as part of that process, and create a fast seafood soup.
5. Conserve Water
Water consumption can be improved through pre-soaking pots, pans and utensils in basins of water versus spraying continuously, adding leak detection tablets for bathroom toilets, using energy-saving appliances, strategically planning landscaping for less water, etc.
This item, depending on the water usage you are currently at, but it does go a long way for the environment. If you take a look at your water usage, see what happens after you test out a water saving swap. If you used less, let your guests know how many gallons of water you saved - seeing small businesses care about water, even if it isn't the largest impact to their