"Going green" always seems to be in the news, but is it a viable option for your restaurant business? Many operators find it not only makes for good press and creates goodwill with environmentally-conscious customers, but it also saves them money.
Today we look at a few simple strategies for green restaurant operations—and how they can pay off:
1. Conserve Power
By reducing electricity usage, you can save money while going green at the same time:
Turn it down. Try increasing the A/C thermostat by just 1 degree (or dropping it a degree in the winter). Your guests likely won't notice, and just that 1 degree difference will reduce your bill by about 1%.
Turn it off. Add “turn on” and “turn off” equipment, heat, and lights to your opening and closing checklists for immediate savings with no cash outlay.
Update lighting. Halogen spotlights and other incandescent lights waste energy and release heat (increasing your A/C cost). Replace them with energy efficient bulbs.
Do an audit. An hour or two spent doing an energy audit of your store could pay off in long-term energy savings. As a starting point, check out this food service specific energy audit checklist.
2. Save Paper
Save on paper and consumables by following the three "R's":
Reduce. Reduce paper use while cutting printing costs by taking coupons and flyers online. Social media, online ordering sites, and email are low-cost, paperless ways to attract new customers and more frequent visits.
Reuse. Using boxes made from recycled materials is another easy way to reduce your environmental impact. A company called Green Box takes this one step further: customers can reuse this pizza box as plates and a storage container for leftover slices. This innovative product is catching on with a growing number of pizza operators, including SpeedLine user Ali Baba Pizza.
Recycle. At restaurants that offer takeout and delivery, cardboard pizza boxes represent a lot of paper, and a lot of trees! Since food-contaminated cardboard can't be recycled, try adding a liner or insert to keep the box bottom cleaner. Liners can also give the added benefit of better enhanced presentation, and a crispier crust.
One Chicago sandwich restaurant took recycling and reduction to the extreme and went totally trash-free. The video of how they did it has garnered over 300,000 views (and a lot of positive word of mouth).
3. Burn Less Fuel
Use mapping software. For a delivery operation, inefficient routing and lost drivers not only cost you money, but the extra time on the road also has a negative environmental impact in wasted fuel and increased greenhouse gases. New mapping software such as SpeedLine LiveMaps can look at current traffic, calculate the most efficient route for deliveries, and send the information to your drivers' smartphones. So they spend less time on the road, and more on-time deliveries make you money.
Have another "green" idea? Please share it in the comments. And remember to tell your customers too. The "feel good" factor of patronizing a business that's making an effort to be environmentally friendly can't be underestimated, and green stories get great press.
Posted by Lisa Siddons
Writes guides, online help, and training content for SpeedLine POS users. An avid hiker and dancer, Lisa also enjoys learning new and exciting things.| Author's website