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People like doing business with companies that are committed to going green. In fact, consumer research shows that sustainability is more crucial than ever; with 2 out of 3 respondents worldwide stating environmental concerns are very-to-extremely important.
Not only that, but people know that it can be a little more pricey to buy green, and they're okay with that. Studies show that over a third of global consumers are willing to pay more for a more sustainable option. This shift in public sentiment is very good news for the health of the planet, and for businesses.
Going green has never been easier. Keep reading to find out how.
1. Planning Menu Items By Season
Agriculture and, by extension, food production rely heavily on the change of the seasons. Taking advantage of the season itself has environmental benefits.
One of the best ways is to create seasonal menus based on what crops are in season. These menus are primarily based around in-season foods to help the environment, and are also a good draw for customers craving novelty (which are many).
Studies have shown seasonal foods are better for the environment than foods that are out of season. This is mostly because less energy goes into the production effort when foods are grown in season.
When in season, farmers don’t need to worry about providing optimal conditions - they're provided by nature. When demand for out of season food rises, crops need to depend on artificial means like climate-controlled areas. Greenhouses need heating or cooling systems in order to run, both of which are huge energy draws.
2. Using Locally Grown Sources
The environmental impact of using seasonal foods increases even further when those foods are local. Utilizing locally grown foods has a host of benefits including significantly less energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions due to travel by air, train, or truck. In addition, they are fresher than the alternatives for your customers.
This also gives restaurant owners a chance to showcase the wonderful range of foods produced around their community. That, and most diners would prefer to eat a tastier and healthier local food option from down the street as opposed to a food option treated with a range of pesticides and preservatives to survive a trip across the country.
3. Shifting to Environmentally Friendly Supplies
Recently, there has been a dramatic focus on the role that single-use plastics have on the environment. The drive against these pollutants has led to many governments banning their use entirely, such as the ban that recently took place across the entire EU. So, this is an important issue for many.
However, restaurants and other food-related businesses need single-use containers in order to do business at all. Conventional plastic disposables are prevalent, provide single use in a sterile way, and are relatively inexpensive to purchase. But single use plastics harm the planet.
Fortunately, there are environmentally friendly disposable alternatives for restaurants who are looking to improve their impact on the environment, and whose customers are looking for earth-friendly restaurants.
This is where items like biodegradable takeout containers, plant-based cutlery, and compostable cups come into play. These eco-friendly items are robust, sturdy, and can handle the same types of food a plastic disposables can. However, unlike plastic disposables, these are biodegradable and sourced ethically.
There are plenty of different options when it comes to disposables like these. Some are plant-based and use materials like bamboo, which is wonderfully sturdy, or another plant starch. Others use new technologies like bioplastic and PLA linings to provide an experience that simulates plastic without actually using plastic.
Here are some examples of eco-friendly supplies to test drive the next time you need to restock:
4. Making QR Code Menus
Another source of waste within the restaurant industry is menus. No matter what kind of menus a location uses, they are guaranteed to create waste.
Paper menus are inherently wasteful, as they are typically discarded at the end of each customer's meal. A laminated menu will last longer. However, laminated menus will become outdated as a location rotates dishes or changes prices, meaning these menus will eventually be thrown out as well.
The only type of menu that is truly built to last is a QR Code menu. With a QR Code menu, customers use their phones to access a menu that is entirely digital.
The fact that this menu is digital prevents it from ever being wasted. It only needs to be printed for display once, and doesn't need to be consistently thrown away. It is also easily updated, so the system never needs to be replaced.
Making this switch prevents trees from being torn down to make paper menus and prevents the creation of additional plastics to make laminated menus. It also prevents both of these items from ending up in a landfill, and saves business owners money in the long run by not needing to be replaced.
QR Code menus even have the potential to work in tandem with any digital promotions. Advertisements run on social media can link right to the menu itself. This way, when customers sit down for their meal, they already know what they want to order - speeding things up for your servers and kitchen staff!
When paired with a website, QR Code menus also give restaurant owners a new platform to highlight their products. On their website, they can show off food, drinks, and any other products that they offer without paper wasting newspaper or placemat ads.
5. Donating Excess to Local Shelters
Food waste is a troubling aspect of the food industry. It means that the time, energy, and resources put into the meal are entirely wasted. This means more carbon emissions and environmental damage are necessary in order to make more food.
Because of this, donating excess food to a local shelter is a fantastic option for businesses. It means that food is going to feed someone who truly needs it. This is a great way to give back to the community as a whole, which improves your company’s image within that community, as well.
Really, there is no downside to donating food in this way. This excess food would go to waste anyway, so you aren’t spending anything extra. For food that can't quite make it due to getting a little rough around the edges, you can always check into community composting efforts. is available in your area.
Community composting is on the rise, which allows you to continue helping the community and continue going green, even if the food cannot go to a shelter. Plus it's a nice way to get to know your community and participate in local events that create buzz for your business.
Going Green Now
Going green is something every business should consider nowadays for longevity. It leads to better public perception, creates the possibility of increased profits, and may even save money in the long run. Plus, if you go with any of the options listed above, going green is easier than ever.