Sustainable practices in restaurants
Some of most important new trends that small restaurants are integrating in their operations are:
- Social responsibility
In contrast, large restaurant chains find more difficult to adhere 100% to sustainability trends but still find ways to embrace these already popular practices into their business.
The “farm-to-table” concept, although not new, is gaining
more popularity. Restaurants patrons want their food to be fresh and free of pesticides and additives.
In terms of food waste reduction, a one-location restaurant can follow sutainable practices easily because of the small scale of their purchasing.
Large restaurant operations can still purchase locally but the risk is of not meeting the price point; produce only grown in certain parts of the country, as well as meat and other essential ingredients, limit options for restaurant chains and large groups.
These restaurants can anyway still have a positive impact on the local economy by recycling food waste. In addition, a composting program where waste is diverted, supports local growers even if products are not purchased directly from the local source.
Social responsibility is gaining momentum as well. Occasional or loyal diners want to know that companies take care of their employees and also of the local communities where they are
based and operate their businesses.
In general, social responsibility has so many aspects to consider that many large corporates find difficult to connect and be involved with the people around them.
The larger is the restaurants group, the tougher is establishing a connection to local communities.
One of the most direct initiatives regarding social responsibility for any restaurant operation is to implement policies for a reduction in food waste. Today diners are aware of this matter. For this reason food waste recycling programs are becoming popular to show social responsibility.
Taking bold actions to reduce food waste is an impactful practice a restaurant can adopt to become more socially responsible. Food donation programs are also becoming very popular for restaurants to be directly connected to local communities. One matter that requires a high level of attention is that large restaurant operations are concerned of the liability issues associated with food donations; partnering with a company that understand the laws and protect businesses from liabilities is one way to solve the problem, as long as food is properly handled and the donation process is properly executed in all aspects regarding food safety.
“Going green” just to increase sales and claiming to do something so important without a proper follow-through can translate in negative reviews and therefore in a complete failure. An important part of the journey is collecting data
related to the programs, so that a business can share environmental goals with customers, online on social networks and on site with detailed information regarding the programs available for guests to read. This practice also helps in building loyalty simply
by doing the right thing.
These trends are not always easy to adapt to, but they can provide an advantage over competitors.
In the end, these current trends will still be around in the coming years; they will become more and more standard practices as in addition also regulations will support curbing food waste. In doing the right thing for the environment, the brand also will benefit as it will incorporate trendy sustainable and eco-conscious practices.