If you want to increase business to your restaurant while also doing something that's good for the planet, then you may want to consider making some "green" changes to the restaurant's structure and the way you operate. Advertising these changes will draw in more customers who share your passion for the earth's health, and you can feel confident that you're doing your part to preserve the environment. Here are four ways you can "go green" in your restaurant.
Recycle your grease
What happens to your old fryer grease and the grease that you scrape off the grill? Do you send it off with the trash or have a grease removal company come pick it up? If you are working with a grease removal company already, look into how they handle the grease. There are companies that recycle it to make products such as methane for powering generators and turbines. If your grease removal company does not recycle the grease in this manner, look for a new one that does. This way, your grease will be put to good use rather than just rotting in a landfill.
Also, make sure you are doing a good job of keeping any grease from washing into the plumbing system. Have your grease trap cleared every couple of months to ensure it keeps doing its job. Otherwise, grease may make its way into the sewer, where it can contribute to the formation of large "fatberg" clogs. These clogs can cause sewage backups, which pollute water sources and can harm wildlife -- not to mention, humans.
Source from local farms
If you currently purchase your produce from a large national supplier, consider buying some of it from local farms instead. You can typically find local farmers at farmers' markets. Talk to them, and see if any of them would be willing to work directly with your restaurant to supply certain ingredients. This will decrease your carbon footprint, since the produce will not have to be shipped as far to reach your restaurant.
If you work with farmers who use organic, sustainable farming practices, you'll reduce your contribution to pollution even further. Plus, customers love to know where their food comes from. You can include the names of the farms on your menu.
Upgrade your appliances
When was the last time you replaced your prep coolers? What about the furnace that heats the dining room. Just as upgrading the appliances in your home can save energy, so can upgrading the appliances in your restaurant. Look for appliances that include the EnergyStar logo, as these are guaranteed to use less energy. The less energy your restaurant uses, the less pollution you'll be generating.
If you cannot afford to completely replace older appliances, at least make sure the ones you have are operating as efficiently as possible. Take time to wipe dust off the cooling coils, as dust will make the unit less efficient. Cool down hot food before putting it in the coolers, and keep coolers and freezers completely filled as this uses less energy.
Buy items made from recycled materials
When it's time to replace chairs, tables, cookware, or any other equipment--whether it be for the front end or the kitchen--look for products made from recycled materials. You can even find utensils and plates made from recycled products. This way, you won't be generating more pollution with your purchases, as you would be if you purchased goods made from "first use" materials.
The more steps you take towards going green, the better you'll feel about your restaurant's carbon footprint. Customers will come to value you for your focus on the environment; your business will boom as a result.