How to Make Your Restaurant More Sustainable
The problem is that relatively few people have a solid understandable of what ‘sustainability’ actually means in a practical sense. A recent study conducted by the Hartman Group (and published here by Forbes) found that some 42 percent of consumers are receptive to the idea of ‘sustainable dining’ and healthy foods. However, significantly fewer were able to articulate what particular attributes made certain types of food or certain dining habits more sustainable than others.
In other words, consumers mean well and are anxious to support restaurants that promote more sustainable practices, but identifying these more responsible establishments is easier said than done. This creates an excellent opportunity for sustainable eateries to educate the public through their marketing tactics, on-site collateral and customer-relations initiatives.
The good news is that stepping out as a restaurant that values and promotes sustainable practices is worth more than a pat on the back. According to the aforementioned study, those 42 percent of diners who are more responsive to sustainability issues also happen to eat out more often than their counterparts (by a nearly 30-percent margin). Not only that—they’re also more affluent.
To rephrase that: they eat out more often—and are likely to spend more when they’re eating out—than those who are less concerned with sustainable dining.
To that end, it seems fairly clear that restaurateurs would be wise to first look for ways to operate their establishment more sustainably, and then find ways to communicate their efforts to interested consumers. Efforts like this can make a major bottom-line difference for the restaurant.
Best of all, sustainable practices are often more affordable than less-sustainable ones. These restaurants end up using less fuel, electricity, water and other resources, cutting down on overheads while attracting a more enthusiastic customer base in the process. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Specific Steps to Take in Your Restaurant
If you follow the blog here at Johnsons Stalbridge at all, then you know how committed we are to ‘fresh thinking’. We work hard to ensure that this concept shines through all of our practices—and that includes the way interact with the environment.
We also share our knowhow with others whenever possible. We understand that our clients are serious about reducing their environmental impact, which is why we occasionally offer tips relevant to our industry on how to accomplish this. (See this recent post on Reducing the Environmental Impact of Your Hotel’s Towel Use for an example.) We understand that when both we and our clients are operating in a more responsible manner, the entire world benefits.
With that in mind, we’re going to dedicate this post to looking at a few concrete ways that you make your restaurant more sustainable. Here are a few ideas worth implementing:
Reduce water consumption.
It seems like droughts and water shortages are in the headlines more than ever before. It has never been more important for restaurants to use water as responsibly as possible. There are several ways to accomplish this—from returning sanitary grey water for use in other non-food-related applications, such as flushing toilets.
Another key way to conserve water is to outsource your linen hire to Johnsons Stalbridge. We’ve streamlined the process to ensure that as little water is wasted as possible. This is possible, in large part, due to the enormous batch loads that we work with.
Use local ingredients.
There are so many compelling reasons to use local ingredients in your restaurant’s creations. To begin with, locally sourced ingredients don’t have to travel as far to arrive at your kitchen. That means that it takes less fuel to transport them, and that they are even fresher when you get our hands on them.
Similar to working with local ingredients is cooking what is in season. In one sense, this is necessary when you’re sourcing local ingredients—especially if your restaurant is located in a geographical region with four distinct seasons. But there are other issues at play here. Cooking what is in season gives nature a chance to regenerate, and this is especially important for seafood and other protein sources that are harvested from the wild.
Streamline your restaurant’s logistics.
This is a sustainability issue that has a direct effect on your bottom line, as a more efficient restaurant costs less to operate. In this case, it’s all about consolidating tasks. This is an area in which we are prepared to offer a helping hand.
When you take advantage of our restaurant linen hire service, you can rest assured that the linens you use will be collected, washed and returned in the most sustainable way possible. We pick up your linens as a part of a sweeping pick-up and drop-off run, and we operate several depots—so we’re never too far away. This means less fuel is wasted transporting linens between the restaurant and the depot.
Use energy-efficient appliances.
There have been major breakthroughs in recent years in terms of energy efficiency. Today’s washing machines, cookers, grills and other kitchen appliances consume less gas and electricity than ever before. That means that, if your kitchen is operating on outdated equipment, then it’s probably consuming quite a bit more energy than it needs to.
Overhauling your behind-the-scenes infrastructure requires some up-front investment, but you’ll start seeing the returns as the next power bill arrives. This is a concept that we have fully embraced at our facilities, as we strive to consume as little energy as possible in washing, packing and distributing linens and towels across our service area. With that in mind, working with us is one more way to reduce your restaurant’s ecological footprint.
If you would like to learn more about our ‘fresh thinking’ concept and how it applies to our commitment to more sustainable practices, feel free to contact us. We’re always eager to connect and speak with restaurateurs who are as passionate about reducing their ecological footprint as we are.