Implementing environmentally-friendly practices in your food service establishment is good for the planet and good for your bottom line. The Green Restaurant Association (GRA) works with organizations in all sections of the food service industry to find ways to reduce the usage of energy and in turn, lower your bills. Accomplishing sustainability goals also attracts customers and retains employees.

When creating sustainability objectives, the GRA’s suggestion is to first find solutions that are low-cost, offer a big return and are easy to implement. Some of these changes include:

  • Installing strip curtains on walk-in freezers

  • Providing plastic straws only upon request

  • Installing high efficiency sink valves

  • Installing low-flow aerators

  • Switching out inefficient lightbulbs for LEDs

These improvements can offer significant cost savings. For example, just by installing LED bulbs alone, you can reduce your electricity bill by up to 10 percent. Those savings can really add up.

Customer demand for sustainability

Another reason to make environmentally friendly changes is for the potential of customer growth. On average, 60 percent of consumers would choose a restaurant that offers sustainably sourced food over one that doesn’t. 66 percent would rather choose a restaurant that offers locally sourced foods. Three-quarters of customers will give preference to dining at Certified Green Restaurants. If you lean into consumer sustainability trends — such as local food sourcing, meatless Mondays, and straws-upon-request policies — you can attract more customers who support your mission.

Reducing employee turnover

Lastly, going green can retain employees. On average, restaurants can lose $150,000 a year due to employee turnover. Research indicates that employees, especially millennials, expect their workplace to value sustainability. They also want to play a role in how their companies approach the topic. Engaging your staff in your efforts can improve employee morale, and in turn cut costs for your food service business in the long run.

Overall, running a green food service operation will help grow your business, cut costs and keep the planet healthy for generations to come.