10 Ways to Green your Restaurant

Nora's organic restaurant

Restaurant and cafe owners, and those who assist with food prep and creation have a variety of options for going green. Here are ten steps to consider when "greening" your restaurant.


1) Get assistance - get organized - get a plan:

The Green Café Network can give you advice and sustainability consulting, as well as a network of support. Start with a more established organization like that before moving into more formal processes like 1% for the Planet or even B Corporation status.


2) Find eco-friendly cleaning supplies:

You can always find a less toxic, more natural option for your cleaning supplies. Brands like Common Good, Seventh Generation, Bon Ami and Indigo Wild are a good place to start.


3) Go sustainable with biodegradable/compostable forks, spoons, knives, and plates:

Some materials for cutlery and serving boxes include bagasse (sugarcane), PLA/CPLA (corn starch), bioplastics, recycled paper, bamboo, and other emerging materials. Worldcentric has a full line of products to consider. 


4) Reward consumer choices:

Give points, discount coupons, or loyalty points to those customers who bring in their own bags, cups, plates, or mugs. Reinforcing good behavior encourages more good behavior.


5) Trap and recycle kitchen grease:

There are still those who are seeking your used cooking oil to run their biodiesel vehicles. Greenlight Biofuels picks up with a scheduled grease trap service; or you can implement better quality and higher capacity grease traps at your cleanup station. Consider recirculation pumps as part of the installation process.


6) Review a solar energy plan:

Those with large-scale hot water needs can consider solar arrays (leased or owned), solar heating systems, and hot water recirculation systems.


7) Buy local:

Becoming a patron of your local farmers' market and delivery services will be better for you, your community, your customer, and your long-term access to supplies. By supporting your local vendors, you help connect your customer base with your farmers and growers - and by keeping money flowing within the local economy, you help benefit multiple small businesses.


8) Print recycled:

Finally, as you're choosing print options for in-housemenus, brochures, cards, and wine lists, choose a recycled paper stock and soy-based inks. Many suppliers, such as Green Field Paper Company, will create artisan, thick, luxurious papers from recycled materials.


9) Offer organic:

Consumers want organic. Find options - start with a starter, small plate, or sides and gradually work up to a full organic option. You can offer food that's in season, healthy, and delicious, and customers will love it.


10) Compost:

Worm compost bins are a great alternative to the dump. Find a way to convert food scraps into food - consider bagging it up and offering to the local community garden or school garden project for pickup.


Give pleasure and delight to your customer while choosing eco-conscious, sustainable, and long-term: when your restaurant, cafe, bakery, deli stop, or dessert place supports the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits, you awaken your customer to the importance of choosing green - your fans will applaud your efforts and continue coming back for more!


Photo by dbking