The green movement and philosophy not only make sense in general terms but also provide a compelling platform for restaurants seeking a mission that resonates with consumers. Consumer choices increasingly depend on ethical treatment of animals, sustainability and a company’s commitment to reducing the use of natural resources. Restaurant owners can generate publicity, build customer loyalty, and develop a civic-minded reputation in the community by supporting environmental causes and adopting green practices at their restaurants.
Start by Getting Internal Policies in Shape
Going green is the fastest growing trend in restaurants today, so owners should that they can make they can make without compromising the restaurant’s concept. Online marketing can help to inform guests about any initiatives that owners decide to implement. Getting word to the press is easy by writing a press release, and getting employes and guests to spread the news about changes in policies involves taking simple steps to inform and educate them about the restaurant’s practices. Simple ways to institute eco-friendly practices include reusing restaurant-generated litter, using sustainable foods, providing nutritional information on all menu items and posting it conspicuously at the restaurant and online.
- Offer more vegetarian dishes, sustainable and ethically treated meats and seafood and local organic ingredients when available.
- Help to reduce pollution by cleaning grease traps frequently and keeping outdoor waste areas free of litter, grease and other pollutants.
- Buy products in returnable and reusable containers.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle when possible.
- Install low-flow toilets and pre-rinse dish sprayers to reduce water use.
- Convert to LED lighting, or use compact fluorescent lamps in storage areas and walk-in coolers to save energy.
Launch an Environmental Promotion
Check environmental event calendars online, and try to coordinate with national programs and events as an official supporter, event host or local contact. Enlist support for local environmental efforts by offering use of the restaurant for planning meetings or food for volunteers. Special promotions that use part of the restaurant’s gross sales on certain items can be pledged to environmental causes and actually increase profits by attracting publicity and new business from the events.
Green Eggs and Ham
Introduce green entrées, organic foods and sustainably grown and processed foods to restaurant menus. Locally grown or organic ingredients attract diner support, reduce carbon footprints and ensure freshness and naturally better tasting food.
- Many restaurants grow some of their vegetables, take part in community gardens or grow fresh herbs year-round.
- Switch to recycled and biodegradable takeout supplies.
- Build support for a restaurant’s environmental policies by donating unused foods to civic organizations or composting waste and scraps for organic fertilizer.
- Explain the restaurant’s environmental policies to each employee so that no customer ever hears the words “I don’t know,” muttered by an apathetic employee.
- Ask guests before providing condiment packets and determine how many packets each guest wants so that there is less waste and litter.
Getting Certified Wins Support
Investigate any green certifications that are available for the restaurant, and connect continually with local sustainable food sources, national environmental organizations and local friends of green restaurants on social media forums. Word will quickly spread that the restaurant practices green policies, an essential step for connecting with ecologically aware consumers.
Restaurant Efforts Provide Grassroots Support
Many environmentalists feel that restaurant support for environmental causes and sustainable food has ignited increased grassroots support for initiatives that help to align people, media and politicians to consider and support eco-friendly political causes and changes in the ways farmers grow and market food commodities. Restaurants and environmentalists make natural allies because eateries provide perfect forums for generating grassroots support for eco-friendly policies.
The food movement continues to grow and attract support in ways that environmentalists admit bring new life to their plans to change government, industrial and consumer policies. Restaurant owners can get on the right side of public opinion, influence public policy and generate support for their businesses by using environmental issues as their signature social cause.