About three in four Millennials (74%) and Generation Z consumers (72%) are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services, according to The Nielsen Company.
In Conversation With Rajesh Kumar Of Gourmet Sage
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Rajesh Kumar talks about different measures leading to a more sustainable environment in the restaurant space.
Call For Sustainability:
Rajesh Kumar, Founder of Gourmet Sage: Many businesses and industries are making a commitment to sustainability to help avoid the reduction of our world’s natural resources. Implementing eco-friendly practices will ultimately improve the health of customers and the environment. Here are some of the ways in which I feel the restaurant business can integrate sustainability into their business strategies.
i) Go Green on Food
- Zero-waste cooking: It is one of the top trends for 2019, according to one of the latest culinary forecasts. In the past two years, the issue of food waste has really entered people’s consciousness. Restaurants can come up with dishes made from ingredients that would otherwise be wasted like vegetables or herb trimmings, coffee grinds etc.
- Use a Digital Inventory Management Tool: To reduce food waste, most environmentally friendly restaurant owners rely on the latest tech. This software sends alerts to your smartphone when inventory is nearing expiration. You also get a real-time look at inventory so you don’t over-order.
- Source & use local produce: It requires less transport and has a smaller carbon footprint. Many consumers consider “local food” to be a sustainable choice so when you can, serve organic food that’s locally sourced at your restaurant.
- Use “natural ingredients” and also “Go GMO-free” and look for other sustainable food labels.
- Offer plenty of plant-based choices: Serving many vegetarian and vegan options including whole, plant-based foods cut back on environmental damage.
- Cut back on food packaging: Serving food that produces minimal packaging waste or comes in recycled content packaging will be another good green initiative.
ii) Use Energy Efficiently
- Keep indoor temperatures moderate, not too hot or cold and always use a programmable thermostat.
- Whenever possible, use Energy Star appliances. You can find Energy Star furnaces, heating and cooling elements, hand dryers, washing machines, refrigerators, lighting, microwaves, exhaust fans, ceiling fans, ovens, dishwashers, and much more. Use Energy Star-compliant roofing material and windows that help block temperature extremes.
- If renovating or building use quality, energy-efficient insulation, duct sealing, and weatherstripping, plus make sure there are plenty of windows to allow daylight in.
- Install a high-efficiency water heater.
- Use energy-efficient lighting.
- Consider installing occupancy sensors for lighting in various rooms.
- Check out Energy Star qualified food holding cabinets.
- Perform regular upkeep on all appliances including cooking equipment and place new gaskets on refrigeration units when needed.
- Plug all your office equipment into one power strip that can be easily turned on and off.
- For further energy savings, look into on-site renewable energy options like solar panels, geothermal, solar water heater, solar exhaust etc
iii) Practice Water Efficiency and Conservation
There’s a lot that restaurants can do to increase water efficiency and conserve the water resources such as:
- Install low-flow faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms. Consider on-demand, touchless sensor faucets as well.
- Use plants that require less water in the landscape.
- Set up water catchments and reuse system.
- Use Energy Star qualified kitchen appliances like dishwashers, ice makers, and steamers.
- Install dual flush handle toilets or high-efficiency toilets and waterless urinals.
- Use a linen service that’s qualified as water-saving or wash linens in-house with an Energy Star qualified washing machine.
iv) Reduce Waste
- Compost leftover food. If you don’t grow any of your own food and have no outside area, donate your compost over to a local community garden.
- Serve proper servings which will result in less food wastage. Donate leftover food to local shelters.
- Go paperless by taking online reservations, keeping customer info on the computer, creating paperless billing for all vendors and employees, and paying your bills online.
- When you renovate or redecorate, recycle or donate old items.
- In the restrooms use real towels instead of paper towels or air hand dryers. Use refillable reusable soap containers with bulk, natural hand soap.
- Always print on both sides of the recycled content paper and reuse or recycle the ink cartridges you use in your printers.
- Try easy steps like staple-free staplers, reusable coasters, reusable menus, reusable coffee, and tea filters, and sign up for junk mail reduction.
v) Donate Surplus Food
- Every environmentally friendly restaurant has a food pantry on speed dial. Even after putting food waste controls in place, you’ll still end up with surplus inventory on occasion. Donating usable food ensures none of it goes to waste. It’s also a great way to gain positive press for your restaurant.
vi) Green Your Cleaning Routine
- Conventional cleaning products are bad for the environment. The harsh chemicals in industrial cleaners don’t break down and pollute the air and water table. To be an environmentally friendly restaurant, swap out conventional cleaners with eco-friendly brands.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
By reducing waste, reusing containers, and recycling materials, the restaurant business can make huge strides when it comes to sustainability. Here are some ideas:
- Swap your regular toilet paper and paper towels with chlorine-free, recycled paper
- Buy kitchen and bar mats made from 100% recycled materials
- Recycle wood boxes, glass bottles, and cardboard
- Exchange plastic and Styrofoam materials for reusable cups and recyclable containers
vii) Consider Composting
- Composting is one of the best steps your environmentally friendly restaurant can take to reduce greenhouse gases and food waste. Well, you have free compost to fertilize your restaurant’s garden.