Did you know that your potential clients are increasingly patronizing restaurants that commit to sustainable operations? In fact, 35.3% of respondents in a research paper titled Exploring Consumer Perceptions of Green Restaurants in the US, were happy to pay up to 10% more to dine at a green restaurant. So, how does your establishment fair where eco-friendliness is concerned? Well, one sure-fire way to gauge this is to carry out an environmental audit.
What is an environmental audit?
We’ve discussed environmental audits in-depth in our previous article Start Making Your Business Greener With an Environmental Audit. In it, we explain the objectives of such an audit and the benefits and types of auditing available. In addition, to make it even easier for you, we even lay out step-by-step how to carry out such an audit. For restaurants, we encourage you to take time to think through the following issues to establish the greenness of your establishment.
1. Energy use and appliances
Every month, how much energy is your restaurant consuming? That is to say, in order to get an idea of energy use, you will need to carry out an energy audit. If this is not within your budget, there are simple changes you can begin to make that will make a big difference. For example, replace all incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving LED models.
Most importantly, not only are LED bulbs easier on your pocket but they also use 75% less energy. For bigger appliances, before you purchase them, ensure that they bear the ENERGY STAR certification. So, if you’re thinking of replacing your commercial fridge, or air purifiers, or indeed installing solar water heaters, just verify that they are energy-efficient appliances first.
2. Water use and its conservation
In the average restaurant in the United States, 7,000 gallons of water are used every day. The EPA lists numerous practices you can employ in your restaurant to reduce water consumption on your premises. To put it into perspective, the water in use every day constitutes 15% of total water use in the country.
The EPA encourages you as the restaurateur to consider water usage in the following areas:
- Kitchen – where 52% of water is used
- Restrooms – which see 31% of restaurant water being used
- Landscaping – takes up 4% of water use
- Heating and cooling elements – consumes 1% of water use
3. Food consumption and food waste
According to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, restaurants trash 84.3% of unconsumed food. What’s even more shocking is that only 14.3% is actually recycled, and a mere fraction 1.4% is donated.
It’s not difficult to become more sustainable in this area. All you need to do is to identify organizations in your area that need food supplies. Think of soup kitchens and shelters for the poor. Organizations you can approach include The Hunger Project, Meals on Wheels and Feeding America.
4. Food packaging and sustainable options
We have a worldwide problem with plastic. What are the takeaway containers you’re using made of? Plastic or paper? If paper, is it recycled paper? As it stands, we cut down two million trees every year to meet the high paper demand of the country. By opting for recycled paper, we can help reduce the number of trees being felled year-on-year.
One major coffee chain that has made considerable strides in this area is Starbucks. What’s amazing is they now use 100% recycled and recyclable, lightweight Earthsleeve paper cups and have done away with their original designs.
LokaBee your partner in green living
LokaBee prides itself on helping businesses and individuals take the first steps to sustainable living. Whatsmore our online store is filled with eco-friendly products to replace non-environmentally friendly options.
To read more about the different green initiatives businesses have adopted check out these 9 Businesses That Have Gone Green