Go Green! 10 ways to make your restaurant, bar or café more eco-friendly

Today is World Environment Day and the environment is in vogue with customers, so we thought we’d share some simple sustainability practices, hints and tips on making your bar, café or restaurant more eco-friendly.

Creating a sustainable business is not just a good idea for the environment and our kids; creating a sustainable business is good for business! The food and drink service sector uses a lot of energy and water, a lot of durable and consumable goods and of course, creates a lot of waste. There are approximately 7000 pubs, 4000 restaurants and over 500 coffee shops in Ireland alone, so the small changes each premises makes can also add up to a huge difference for the climate, all while improving your bottom line. So here are some suggestions on how to go green in the hospitality industry:

  • Get smart with disposables
  • Make straws optional, there is no point giving out straws that go straight in the trash. The same applies to napkins. Cloth napkins instead of paper can also be re-used again and again.

  • Recycle
  • This one isn’t rocket science, but if you pay close attention to what you’re throwing out, you are probably throwing a lot of recyclables in the thrash and general waste is probably costing you money. If there is community composting or organic recycling in your area, it can be a great way to get rid of food waste and make big weight savings on your general waste bill. Recycle your aluminium and all those glass bottles and jars. Train your employees to choose from different types of bins. The adjustment might take time, but will be worth it.

  • Buy Local
  • If your supplies are being shipped across the world before reaching you, you might be able to save money, use fresher ingredients and support local businesses by finding the same ingredients from local farmers. Plus you’re saving all that burned fuel and CO² from entering the atmosphere.

  • Switch to paperless
  • Using digital menus and promotions in your premises allows you to conveniently change and update your offers at any time, without the waste and cost of paper leaflets and card menus. Don’t forget to balance your in-house digital promotions with an active social media presence and email offers instead of sending leaflets by mail.

  • Minimise your utility usage
  • This is an obvious one but can add up to big savings over the course of a year. Don’t run the dishwasher half full or keep the oven on when it’s not needed. Don’t heat an entire premises if half of it is not in use.

  • In-house Production
  • Items like vinegars, jams or sausages can be made in house with relatively little effort. Allowing you to promote and serve better quality dishes, save money, and help the environment.

  • Go Biodegradable
  • If you provide take away food, switch out your Styrofoam containers with bio-degradable packaging. While some recyclable waste containers can be more expensive, some such as recycled fibreboard can be similar in price. Costs can be balanced out by your in-house usage reduction; for example by making your optional straws or napkins bio-degradable.

  • Think Outside the Box
  • Standing Stone Brewing Co. in Oregon USA gave free bicycles to employees who worked at least 1000 hours and promised to ride them to work. They improved retention and began to see applications from more energetic types of employees. Introduce initiatives to reduce your staff turnover and help the environment at the same time.

    The importance of sustainability continues to trend as increasingly relevant in the hospitality industry; your customers want to know what type of business you are and who they are supporting. So most importantly, when you start to go green, don’t do it in secret! Shout it from the rooftops. Promote it across your social media and put up posters in your premises. Let your customers know what type of business you are and don’t miss out on the loyalty benefits of creating a sustainable bar, café or restaurant.

    What restaurant, bar or café sustainability practices do you use? Join the conversation! Share and comment using the buttons below.

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