Aside from helping preserve the environment, do you know that operating an eco-friendly restaurant is a smart business move? Going green for your restaurant can help you reduce costs, appeal to a broader market, and increase revenues and profits.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend a lot or make drastic changes in your daily operations just to make your restaurant sustainable. There are plenty of eco-friendly restaurant features available today — too many that you can easily choose ones that match the size of your restaurant or the goals you want to achieve.
1. Eco-Friendly Disposables
Are you looking for ways to impress customers who always order take-out? Do you want your presentation to stand out from your competitors? Investing in eco-friendly disposables might be the solution to your everyday dilemmas.
One of the most widely used restaurant disposable supplies nowadays are those made from recycled materials. Eco-friendly disposables are better for the environment because they use less energy, reduce pollution, and limit the use of non-renewable resources.
Eco-friendly restaurant supplies are also customizable, which means that you can incorporate your brand into them or change their shape. You can even add colors to the disposables to make your packaging look unique. Your options are endless!
2. Water-Saving Equipment and Practices
Water is an important resource in every restaurant. You’ll need water to prepare meals, maintain the cleanliness of the area, and ensure that your customers are quenched. On average, restaurants consume about 3,000 to 7,000 gallons of water every day.
Water-saving equipment is another eco-friendly restaurant feature worth investing in. This equipment allows you to use water more efficiently without negatively impacting the environment. Water-saving equipment also helps you conserve water, translating into lesser costs and more revenues.You may also use a water billing system to monitor your utility expenses.
Here are some water-saving equipment and practices:
- Don’t serve too much water to your customers. Instead, only serve them water when they ask for it.
- Install water-saving urinals and toilets in your restaurant.
- Invest in low-flow faucets for your bathrooms and kitchens. If your budget allows, consider installing a touchless sensor to minimize water waste.
- Maintain plants that require less water.
- Use Energy Star qualified kitchen appliances, such as steamers, ice makers, and dishwashers.
3. Chemical-Free Cleaning Products
Cleanliness is paramount in the daily operations and long-term success of your restaurant. Running an unsanitary restaurant can hurt your brand, causing you to lose customers and profits.
And while commercially produced cleaning products are conveniently available anywhere, using them can damage the environment. These products contain chemicals that affect the indoor and outdoor environment by contributing to waste and pollution.
Swap out conventional cleaners for chemical-free cleaning products. Aside from being safer for the environment, chemical-free cleaning products are also cheaper and safer for humans. For example, instead of using regular toilet paper, invest in chlorine-free recycled paper. You can also use DIY cleaning solutions such as white vinegar, fresh herbs, and baking powder to keep your restaurant spotless!
4. Sustainable Décor and Furniture
To run a successful restaurant, you don’t only have to serve the best dishes and hire the best staff — you also need to create the right ambiance for your customers. How your restaurant looks and feels can significantly affect the dining experience of your customers.
Sustainable décor and furniture are a must if you want your restaurant to be eco-friendly. As the name suggests, these pieces were made using the least amount of energy and require lesser resources for maintenance.
You can choose from different sustainable décor and furniture for your restaurant, namely:
- Add plants to your restaurant;
- Choose motion sensor lights in your bathrooms;
- Decorate your restaurant using pre-loved items;
- Use furniture made from renewable wood, such as bamboo, white ash, black cherry, pine, or mahogany;
- Install awnings outside the restaurant to keep heat out during warmer months;
- Invest in Energy Star qualified windows. If possible, install big windows in your restaurant to allow natural light in and reduce cooling and lighting costs; and
- Use energy-efficient lighting.
5. Seasonal Menus
Offering the same menu all the time will not only bore your customers — but it can also hurt the environment and your business in general. The prices of ingredients often increase throughout the year, which means that you’ll need to spend more just to serve the same menu.
Introducing eco-friendly menus and buying from local suppliers will make your restaurant eco-friendly as it reduces carbon emissions from transporting ingredients from across the country. This also ensures that your restaurant continues to serve cheaper, taster, and fresher meals without the need of spending more money.
6. Digital Solutions
Technology has affected various business industries, including the restaurant sector. Nowadays, you can use tools to improve various areas of the business. But do you know that technology can also become your biggest ally to become a sustainable restaurant?
Digital solutions are a must-have for your business to become eco-friendly. Digital solutions are more convenient, plus they enable you to save tons of resources without compromising the quality of your services. One of the most common digital solutions restaurants use today is the use of QR codes instead of offering traditional menus to customers. You can also replace your loyalty program cards with an app or digital card.
7. Compost Station
According to reports, 1.3 billion tonnes of food gets wasted every year. When food waste makes it to landfills, it can contribute to the growing number of greenhouse gasses present in the atmosphere. This results in climate change and air pollution.
Having a compost station is one of the best ways to reduce food waste. Having one in your restaurant also reduces the number of trash pickups, which helps lower your waste removal bills.
When you have a compost station, you’ll have sufficient resources to enrich soil (which can be very beneficial if you’re growing your own produce), retain moisture, and suppress pests in the environment. Composting also assists in stormwater management and prevents soil erosion.
Ask Help from Your Staff
To ensure that you can get the most out of these eco-friendly restaurant features, educate your staff to adapt and maintain sustainable activities. In this way, your staff can teach your customers how to maximize these features. Their cooperation will also guarantee that your restaurant becomes sustainable in no time!