Not too long ago the move to going green took a dramatic turn. It went from something that would be nice to do to something you need to do. Today it’s not just about conserving the planet for our future; it’s also about putting smarter, sustainable business practices into your operation. Many of these green initiatives save money and actually increase productivity. And when your customers see you’re doing your part, they feel good about you and your operation, and wind up becoming more loyal patrons.
‘62% of consumers say they are likely to choose a restaurant based on its environmental friendliness.’
If that’s not reason enough to turn your operation green, or greener, here are seven more.
Seven Reasons to Go Green
You can actually become a Certified Green Restaurant. But even if you just turn greener, the reasons for doing so will benefit your operation. Here are seven reasons from www.dinegreen.com, the Green Restaurant Association site.
1. Generate positive publicity
2. Cut costs and improve efficiency
3. Improve staff productivity and morale
4. Increase customer loyalty
5. Drive in new customers
6. Stay ahead of legislation
7. Create a healthier environment
Ten Tips for a Greener Restaurant
Putting these tips into practice will start to pay off immediately. Many are just common sense and do not cost anything. Others require an investment but are well worth it. Glance through the list and you’ll find that going green is mostly about making smart business decisions.
1. Turn off. Turn off interior/exterior lights and cooking hoods when not in use. Install motion detectors in storerooms, offices, and restrooms. Set lights on timers.
2. Fix Leaks. Repair leaky faucets and toilets. Stop air leaks by caulking and insulating around leaky windows and doors and installing energy curtains in freezer rooms.
3. Replace Lighting. Replace incandescent bulbs with longer-lasting CFL light bulbs or LED lights. Replace traditional exit signs with LED exit lighting.
4. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Follow the 3 R’s of sustainability: reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce waste. Reuse furniture and flooring. Recycle paper, plastics, glass, and aluminum.
5. Unplug. When not in use, unplug computers, electronics, coffee machines, POS systems, and any small appliances.
6. Use Less Water. Serve water upon request. Run dishwashers and washing machines only when full. Install low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and tankless water heaters.
7. Train and Inform. Train employees on energy-saving procedures and on the importance of energy conservation and water use. Tell customers about your energy efforts.
8. Clean and Maintain. Clean equipment runs more efficiently. Regularly dust and clean appliances, top to bottom. Perform routine preventive maintenance on HVAC, plumbing, appliances, and major equipment.
9. Remodel or Build Green. Use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) or no-VOC paints, recycled flooring, and managed-forest wood. Install a reflective roof, sunlights, and energy-efficient windows.
10. Look for the ENERGY STAR Label. Purchase appliances, electronics, and other EPA-tested equipment that carry the ENERGY STAR label.
Get Started with the Most Common Green Practices
You can’t do it all at once, and you don’t have to. But if you’re not keeping pace with the green movement, your customers will notice, and you don’t want to appear behind the times.
Green Packaging Says You’re Part of the Solution
When patrons order take-out food, 50% say that it is either ‘extremely or somewhat important’ that the packaging is green. That means they are looking for biodegradable labeling or packaging made from recycled materials. Half of your customers are looking for you to be green; it’s time to make the change.
By Showing That You Recycle You Show You Care.
Making it obvious that you recycle and separate garbage is an easy way to demonstrate your commitment to green practices. Almost 50% of your patrons say it matters to them. In limited-service operations, they are doing the busing and they’ll think more highly of you if they know you are with them in trying to reduce waste.
Once You Turn Green You Won’t Want to Turn Back.
When you add up the savings from more energy-efficient equipment and lighting, and better heating and cooling practices, plus other cost-cutting green practices, who wouldn’t want to go greener? It’s a turn for the best for you, your customers, and the planet.
CUT ENERGY COSTS
Energy Star-qualified bulbs use about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
Source: Ideas Beyond, Tips for a Greener Restaurant