Restaurants are sustainable when they reduce their waste streams and are also practicing sustainable principles, minimizing their impact on the environment. While we are seeing a decline of our planet’s natural resources as well as an increase in demand for transparency and in consumer expectations, restaurants businesses are facing numerous challenges, such as growing costs, slow growth, employees retention or high turnover and ultimately a need to attract a younger demographic target.
As consumers, according to recent statistics, are willing to pay more for sustainable services and products, restaurants should consider more commitment to sustainability, as this would be an important marketing strategy to address all issues above. Here some important steps for restaurants businesses willing to start their “sustainable” journey:
- Engaging stakeholders: to start the process in the more efficient way it is important to receive support, suggestions and input from as many stakeholders affected by the business as possible; employees, suppliers, corporate, local communities, private and public organizations should be involved from the very beginning.
- Operations assessment: it is recommended to study in depth all major issues such as employee’s retention and turnover rate, relationship with suppliers and local communities, where most of the money is spent, how the company is known in the market and what can be done to improve.
- Sustainability Metrics Tracking System: once a sustainability tracking system is developed and updated regularly, metrics like water consumption, energy use, waste and others can be kept under tight control and analyzed in depth in order to identify trends and opportunities from improvement. This analysis will create a system in which monitoring on performance and benchmarks will help in consolidating best practices. Targets and goals should be realistic and not impossible to achieve; at same time they should create the right level of excitement to keep all stakeholders engaged during the journey.
- New technologies, programs and policies: understanding what is available in the market for improvement of business and operations is extremely important as there are always new trends emerging and new practices to embrace. Consultants can help and support in this stage.
- Implementation: After identifying new technologies, policies and practices, it is time to implement. Employees and stakeholders need to be informed during the journey as these initiatives can motivate them and keep them engaged.
- A never ending journey: The goal is to continually improve practices, continue to reduce costs day by day, continue to build bridges with stakeholders and continue to contribute to a better world for everyone.