How Restaurants Can Increase Sustainability and Save Money

Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Thursday, June 28, 2018

Consumers have recently begun focusing on sustainable practices by the companies they do business with. This is as true in the food and beverage industry as any other. Whether you don’t recycle or your restaurant supplier was caught dumping oil in the sewer last month, consumers will notice and respond negatively. Of course, you’re probably worried about the costs. Fortunately, there are several sustainable restaurant practices that can also save you money.

Focus on In-Season Dishes
When you’re purchasing commercial restaurant equipment, café chairs or other restaurant equipment, it’s acceptable to use a supplier outside of your region. After all, these are typically once-in-a-blue-moon purchases. When it comes to the restaurant supplier that transports your food and other short-lived items, however, patrons may take umbrage if you’re not using someone local.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to offer certain dishes only when their items are in season. This allows you to purchase produce and ingredients from local farmers, which sustainability-minded consumers love, and you’ll also save money over weekly long-distance deliveries. If strawberries aren’t growing in your region, use another ingredient until they are.

To really stand out to patrons, rotate out your menu every few months to account for seasonal growth variations.

Donate Rather Than Trashing
Everyone involved in the food and beverage industry, from culinary entrepreneurs to restaurant suppliers, wants to save money. If you were to look at the amount of food wasted by restaurants annually, though, this might be hard to believe. In fact, 15 percent of wasted food that ends up in landfills comes directly from restaurants.

The more sustainable option here is to donate the food, but wouldn’t that cost you more money just to transport it? As it turns out, the new app MealConnect lets you arrange food pickups so you can donate rather than trashing. After its 3-year pilot process, MealConnect had already saved 333 million pounds of food from dumpsters.

Want to know the icing on the cake? You can write these donations off as charitable contributions.

Replace Equipment with Efficient Models
You certainly don’t want to go throw out your functioning commercial restaurant equipment to purchase more energy-efficient models. As with anything in life, though, your kitchen equipment is going to need repair. After a while, it will become more economical to replace dishwashers, fryers and other pieces of equipment rather than repairing them. This creates the opportunity for energy efficiency.

By replacing old restaurant equipment with ENERGY STAR® certified appliances, you’ll greatly cut down on your energy use. In turn, this can save you thousands of dollars in electricity costs every year. Additionally, you can qualify for certain tax breaks by using this type of equipment. You’ll be simultaneously saving the world and your wallet.

You won’t be able to wipe out global warming or other environmental issues on your own, but if consumers know that you’re taking action, they’ll respect your business. By bringing in these socially responsible patrons, you’re helping everyone from your employees to your restaurant supplier make more money. In the end, utilizing sustainable restaurant practices is a win-win for everybody involved.

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