According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2018 State of Restaurant Sustainability report, improving sustainability within foodservice environments can deliver a reduced spend of around 20%. This is a figure now taken more seriously by the financiers and operators. We’ve moved on from changing front of house light bulbs and reducing unnecessary energy use in commercial kitchens to incorporating a responsible approach and a circular economy into production and operations where possible.
Reportedly largely as a result of David Attenborough’s recent documentary series, the ongoing use of plastics, styrofoam and other non-recyclable packaging is out of favour with most of the population. While suitable alternatives are not yet available for everything, cafes and restaurants can do a number of things to support change that can reduce cost for the supplier and consumer alike, such as promote campaigns that offer incentives for using refillable (and often branded) containers, remove single use plastic disposables, talk to suppliers about packaging and transportation options, and increase provision of water fountains and reusable water bottles.
From an equipment perspective, operators can consider their purchases and their ratings with regard to energy efficiency, waste management and water usage, particularly with regard to large items such as refrigerators, dishwashers and low flush toilets. Communicating the changes being made, and the impacts they are having on the local environment can also help to meet one of the customer expectations of recent years – helping consumers to minimise their environmental impact without a significant change to their own personal environment. We think that’s win-win.