With Earth Day coming up, it’s a great time to start thinking about the sustainability of your restaurant. However, sustainability is a lifestyle and the impact of Earth Day should extend far beyond April 22nd. Having a sustainable restaurant is more desirable than ever thanks to forward-thinking customers, but it can also help you save money.
Sustainability can extend to every aspect of your business, but many restaurant owners don’t know where to start. Evolving your restaurant’s operations is a process that might take some time, but the added benefits will make the time well spent. Here are three ways you can make your restaurant more sustainable:
1. Cook What’s in Season & Buy Locally
One of the most common ways to increase the sustainability of a restaurant is to look at your food sources. Having a flexible menu that is frequently updated according to what’s in season helps ensure that you are always serving produce at its absolute freshest; this also helps keep customers from getting bored with your menu.
Buying local is also important to sustainability; simply purchasing food that is organic often isn’t enough. Working with nearby producers and farmers also helps support the local economy. If the opportunity presents itself, it could even be advantageous to grow some of your own items. A full garden might be a little ambitious, but growing often-used herbs yourself is a great way to be sustainable. This also allows your chefs and cooks to be more involved with the cooking process, and customers might be impressed with how far you’ll go for fresh ingredients.
2. Cut Down on Waste
One of the largest problems restaurants face is food waste. Restaurants in America throw away tons of food each year, and cutting down on this waste means more people could be fed. In terms of benefiting a restaurant’s bottom line, reducing food waste means saving more money. A properly organized inventory – which can oftentimes be achieved through your POS system – can help reduce food spoilage.
Studying the inventory can also help restaurant managers design better menus and specials that help limit waste. It might even be beneficial to pay attention to what customers are leaving on their plates; adjusting portions might just help save more food.
Of course, food waste will never reach 0%, but restaurants can do quite a lot to trend in that direction. For the food that cannot be saved, consider composting. Local farmers will be happy to take compost off your hands.
3. Think Beyond Your Menu
The menu and the food on it is obviously the largest source of waste for a restaurant, but there are a number of other ways for you to improve sustainability. Pens and paper can often be replaced with newer technologies that are more sustainable. For example, some point of sale systems allow customers to receive receipts by text message or email. Even when materials cannot be cut out completely, consider paper products and linen services that are more environmentally friendly.
Sustainability should even be considered when it comes to your employees. Encouraging more sustainable lifestyles – perhaps cycling or carpooling – can go a long way toward ensuring everyone at your business shares the same vision.
As you embark on this journey toward a more sustainable restaurant, you will find that your customers share and appreciate your cleaner lifestyle. Sustainability is not just a novelty or a fad; it’s here to stay, and it’s best to get on board sooner rather than later. Cutting down on waste, supporting local farms and businesses, and having clear company values will help take your restaurant to the next level.
Speaking of taking your restaurant the next level, contact Leebro POS to discover new ways to increase efficiency and productivity in your everyday operations.