As more and more restaurants work towards going green, they are finding the actual cost can be more than anticipated. From reducing food waste to purchasing energy efficient appliances to eliminating single-use plastic items, there is always a cost involved. If you take the approach that every little bit helps the environment, your business and your customers, making organized, pragmatic steps can lead you in the right direction.
By researching and learning a variety of techniques, going green can be adapted to fit any budget. Being realistic about what is achievable, affordable, and sustainable (meaning what you can manage to do long-term) for your business will help to keep your frustration level in check and reach your goal. Shoot for perfection and you will not be happy. Make a list of what you want to do, how you will get there and what the opportunity cost as well as actual costs will be, the management of the process will be successful.
Being 100% green, leave no carbon footprint, yada, yada, yada, is simply not realistic.
As a world, we are just not there yet and there seemingly are constant setbacks, but do not despair, there are still many things you can do to make a difference.
- Start with a list of questions:
- Where do I begin?
- What is realistically achievable?
- What am I currently doing?
- What are others around me doing?
- What type of budget do I need to achieve my goals?
- How realistic is that budget?
- What is important to me and to my customers in the greening process?
- Make a list of the things that you can and want to change about how you use energy, dispose of waste and excess food, receive deliveries, recycle, cleaning supplies and processes, etc…
- Make a chart of the cost/benefit analysis to doing these changes and how they will be implemented and sustained.
- Share ideas and work with local restaurant organizations and other restauranteurs on how you can work together such as combining deliveries, sharing waste disposal management systems, donating excess foods to local shelters.
- Research how effective and efficient your appliances are based on industry ratings and potential updated equipment that may help them run more efficiently without having to do a total replacement.
- Work with your suppliers to understand what they are doing and how you can work more effectively together (will a farmer who sells to several restaurants in your area make the delivery or can you and other restauranteurs share the responsibility of combining order pickups).
- Research resources that are available to help you go green such as local environmental groups and agencies, outreach programs, and local activists.
Starting places to help move you towards being more environmentally efficient:
Are You Running an Environmentally Friendly Restaurant? Dumpsters.com
STRAWS ARE JUST THE BEGINNING: 5 TIPS TO BE AN ECO-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT R3Sitefurnishings.com
The Challenge of Going Green Harvard Business Review (hbr.org)