6 Ways to Create and Find a Sustainable Restaurant
Nowadays the term ‘sustainability’ is perhaps just as relevant, or even more so, than the word ‘innovation’ itself. Although opening a business can already be a difficult feat when trying to bring a fresh idea to the local scene, thinking about how you can do so sustainably is also a newfound challenge that many young restaurateurs find themselves taking on. Thinking of sustainability may seem like complicated things, however, it might actually make your life much easier when it comes to operating your restaurant!
With sustainable travel and sustainable living being one of our many passions, we have gathered 6 tips to ensure you can run your restaurant in a more sustainable and compassionate way with the environment.
With the rise of take-out apps and in a post-pandemic world, ensuring that you are sending as little single-use plastics into the world is a must. Businesses like Mixt Greens, with several locations in the West Coast, have embraced using compostable bags and plates to their take-out kit, allowing their customers to recycle and compost the containers once they have experienced the delights. Their meals are just as satisfying to eat as they are to throw away, knowing little to no waste was produced.
Keep your friends close and your produce closer
As always, staying local is the best way to go when trying to be as sustainable as possible. Knowing your suppliers first-hand, relying on non-GMO, organic foods for higher quality in your products, and supporting the local agriculture are some of the benefits of keeping your source within a few miles. The Plant Café is one of many businesses that provide their customers with the freshest, locally grown products uncontaminated by pesticides. This will give your business an added appeal and value, as not everyone would go the extra mile!
All renewable everything
Another great way to enhance your sustainability footprint is choosing renewable energy to power your restaurant! In this situation, it is more important to think of the long haul, as this might mean making a bigger investment in appliances and systems that may cost more than your average gas-run kitchen. From being powered by wind turbines and solar panels to having all-LED lighting and water and energy-efficient appliances, there are many ways and tiny improvements you can include in your restaurant to ensure it wastes just a bit less energy and produces fewer greenhouse emissions.
Recycle it up!
A new trendy way to stay sustainable is using recycled or upcycled furniture and equipment in your restaurant. Founding Farmers in the East Coast looked for almost all their furniture in the recycling in all of their locations to ensure they can reuse as many products as possible! They have also installed paper-composite countertops in their kitchens, which ensure tons of paper can be reused and don’t go to waste for many years to come. Not only will upcycling materials give your restaurant an edge on the looks department, but it will also bring a more sustainable approach to it.
Go with the season
The emissions released when transporting food from point A to B can be quite harmful to the environment, and this often happens when certain produce is not in season locally, meaning it will be more work to get your food from elsewhere (plus the costs of keeping it fresh on the way there). In this case, restaurants like Gate are changing their menus 4 times a year, with the seasons! This will provide your customers with a variety of options throughout the year and give you the opportunity to stay local, only using produce that is currently being given to us by nature. Whatever is not being grown by the land at the time, can wait to be served at the table.
Training is caring
Our last tip and perhaps the one that will truly make a change, is training your staff properly on how to keep the business sustainable. As sustainability is still not an industry staple, many members of your staff might come from a long way of wasteful habits from many other restaurants. Training them properly, encouraging personal growth in their habits while at work (and why not, at home too!) can frankly make a big difference in staying as sustainable as can be. At the end of the day, it is your staff that ensures that everything is run in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
With some being more easily achievable than others, we hope these tips can help inspire you to make a shift in your growing food business, or whenever you are ready to start a new one! We believe it is a challenge worth taking, which in the long run will feel both gratifying and will bring the right crowd to your business. And if you are a fan of transformation and adventure travel, always remember to support as many local and sustainable businesses as you can find on your trip.