Categorized | Featured, Operations

Green Restaurants, Higher Profits

Posted on 09 April 2010 by Agile Chef

Part 2 of 2

Now you know just how easy it is to save money and conserve energy with a few quick changes to your restaurant’s water and electricity use. But why stop there? Remember the three R’s — reduce, reuse and recycle! From doing away with Styrofoam tableware to starting a compost pile, you can improve your operation’s environmental efficiency through the simplest substitutions or the most creative recycling programs. We’ll help you find the right balance for your restaurant.

Repairs and Remodels
As any operator can tell you, there’s no way to avoid the occasional repair or remodeling job. Whether your restaurant’s in need of some minor renovations or a total overhaul, there are plenty of ways to go green without going overboard on your budget. Recycled brick, stone and wood products offer interesting (and eco-friendly) alternatives to standard construction materials, while natural lighting sources like windows and sun lights create a more enjoyable dining room atmosphere than harsh overhead bulbs. Insulated walls keep your heating and cooling systems running more efficiently. And low- or no-VOC paints help keep unhealthy emissions at bay. Factor in added savings from government-issued tax breaks on environmentally friendly buildings, and it’s no wonder green buildings can save owners up to 9% in operating expenses.

Replace & Re-use

Running an eco-friendly restaurant won’t just save you money; it can actually improve the efficiency of your operation, too. Even a few small substitutions can cut down on waste and speed up service. For instance, rather than distributing fresh paper menus each time you set a new table, have them laminated instead; just wipe them down after use, and you’re ready for your next table. If you serve soft drinks, do away with individual bottles or cans (and the wasted aluminum and glass they leave behind), and invest in a fountain-style dispenser. Or simply replace Styrofoam plates and plastic cups with tableware made from recycled paper or plastic.

Even the greenest restaurants know that some waste is inevitable. For that unavoidable trash, take advantage of your community’s recycling programs and relegate old papers, bottles and cans to the recycling bins, not the dumpsters. Commercial composting services offers another easy alternative to trashing leftover food. You’ll not only save valuable trash bin space; you just might reduce weekly garbage pickups and the accompanying fees as well!

For those remaining scraps and supplies, consider a donation to your local food pantry or community center. Most will gladly pick up your excess ingredients or leftover kitchen equipment for free, saving you money (from trash pickup fees) while you do good.

This spring is the perfect time to join the green movement and make your restaurant a little more environmentally friendly. Even the simplest changes can lower your operation’s expenses while reducing your restaurant’s wasted energy and refuse. After all, it’s not about changing the world; it’s about doing your part to run a greener business, one step at a time.

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