In a previous post, we talked about some ways restaurant businesses can go green while saving money. Here are a few new ideas.
Reduce Food Waste
No one likes to see food go to waste while many go hungry, and in your kitchen, food that is overportioned, dropped, swept off the prep counter into the garbage is profit down the drain.
Inventory software can track food use by comparing what should have been used, according to the sales recorded in your POS, to what remains on shelves. The difference, called “usage variance,” is often due to waste, poor portion control, or theft, and minimizing this metric not only keeps food out of the landfill, but increases profits.
Does your store occasionally make food that is never served because of mistakes or no-show pickups? Check local shelters and charities to see if they will accept it, and keep a record of what’s donated to include in newsletters and other publicity.
Eat-in and dine-in customers may sometimes over-order and leave food on their plates. Composting these food scraps helps the environment because composting allows food to decompose more fully, reducing the production of methane, a greenhouse gas. If composting in your region isn’t already mandated, arranging compost pickup can make for good press and create goodwill with environmentally-conscious customers.
To-go packaging costs money, and according to MarketWatch, single-use food and beverage packaging is one of the largest sources of plastic pollution in the oceans.
Large chains are starting to make changes: McDonald’s has said by 2025 it will make all of its packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources, and Canadian burger chain A & W was the first in North America to eliminate plastic straws, which cannot be recycled, and now serves eat-in meals on ceramic plates with stainless steel cutlery.
Using packaging with high recycled content is one way to reduce environmental impacts. Try adding a liner or insert to pizza boxes to keep the box bottom cleaner--large amounts of grease prevent recycling. Use a small lump of baked dough to replace plastic “pizza savers” which usually cannot be recycled.
Shipping the ingredients you stock long distances contributes to climate change. Sourcing local ingredients when possible can be a selling point, so mention it in your menu! Local food is usually fresher, and keeps money in your community. Seasonal menu items using local ingredients add interest to your menu, and tend to be popular with both locals and tourists.
Tell Your Customers
Remember to tell your customers about your green initiatives. 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