Sustainability is nothing new in the food and drinks industry. From Fairtrade coffee through to organic, locally sourced vegetables, there is a smorgasbord of sustainable products for both the general public and the savvy restaurateur.
Sustainability has progressed from a buzzword often mentioned at trendy local farmers’ markets to an actual business model. The restaurant business can be ruthless, so for a restaurant to project an image of caring for something other than profits is refreshing and gives the business a conscientious character that appeals to the evermore-ethical patron.
The concept of a sustainable restaurant is now even an officially lauded practice with the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Awards recognising achievements of those in the sector. Even French chef extraordinaire Raymond Blanc rates restaurant sustainability over and above Michelin stars.
With sustainability seemly taking hold in the restaurant industry, what does a sustainable restaurant look like today? How are they run and what are the benefits?
What does a sustainable restaurant look like today?
According to the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s criteria, there are three clear ways a restaurant can be deemed sustainable:
The types of produce a restaurant uses is the primary standard for being deemed sustainable. Is your eatery’s menu composed of food that is seasonal and local? Is the meat you use organic and are the eggs free-range? Is the coffee you serve fairly traded? Sourcing produce from farmers who are committed to caring for the environment and cooking with fish that is sustainably caught all go towards making your restaurant a sustainable one.
Thinking about the supply chain transportation you use and its environmental impact. Making sure your waste is kept to a minimum, properly disposed of and monitored. Restaurants can further sustainability efforts by making their business energy efficient (electricity, gas, heating and water) too.
It’s not just the produce a business sells or the facilities it’s housed in but the people also count towards sustainability. Having an excellent equal opportunities ethos in your recruitment process at all levels, encouraging and offering healthy eating to employees all back up the restaurant’s sustainability. Aside from employees the other people to consider are the general community. Engaging with local schools, charities and communities adds a personable and caring facet to a restaurant business.
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