5 Cost Effective Ways to Make Your Restaurant Eco-friendly
Budgets are tight. Many are struggling to stay open. Some are holding the line, but also looking ahead to create financial resiliency for the months to come. It may seem outside the realm of possibility to initiate anything new – especially when it come to sustainability. In many cases, going green can be beneficial for your bottom line. Being by looking for ways to reduce variable monthly costs. It is important to start small, think big, and evolve into a fully sustainable restaurant. There is no better time than now to innovate into better practices and technology.
1. Rethink Energy
The average restaurant uses 3-5 percent of their total operating costs on energy. Reduce your monthly electric bill by swapping out incandescent bulbs with LED lights. Make this a gradual change by swapping out bulbs as they burn out. LED bulbs also have a longer life. The average 60-watt LED bulb lasts 10,000 to 25,000 hours compared to a traditional incandescent bulb which only lasts for about 1,000 to 2,000 hours. Replacing your light-bulbs is a cost-effective way to save your restaurant money over the long term. Contact your local utility company to ask about rebates.
2. Reduce Water Usage
Recent studies by Powerhouse Dynamics found a typical sit-down restaurant uses 5,800 gallons of water per day. This number fluctuates depending on the size and volume of the restaurant. Estimates say that every restaurant uses an average of 2 million gallons of water annually, with water bills averaging $8,000 per year! This is literally money going down the drain. With the cost of water outpacing inflation, restaurants are innovating into better technology to vastly decrease water usage. For example, Boss Defrost is a new kitchen appliance that saves many restaurants upwards of 1,200 gallons per day. Implementing new innovations like Boss Defrost immediately reduces water usage by 20% per day, saving up to $1,600 per year on water bills. At just under $300, Boss Defrost is an example of low-cost initiative that is guaranteed to save money over a long term.
3. Sourcing Local Food
There are many benefits to sourcing local food in your restaurant. Locally grown food tends to be fresher, has increased flavor, and drives sustainably minded customers to your restaurant. Guests are increasingly choosing farm to table concepts over traditional ones. Going local is not as expensive as you might expect. Look for farms that offer weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares specifically for restaurants. Create relationships with local farmers to buy their produce in peak season and ask about produce grown in shoulder seasons. When community farms partner with local restaurants, farmers can offer competitive prices because costs for marketing and transportation are often reduced. Another interesting possibility is to ask if local farms will grow specifically for your restaurant if you promise to buy, for example, a season’s worth of basil. It is a win-win.
4. Invest in Green Cleaning Supplies
Buying green cleaning products is a huge advantage for the environment. Conventional cleaning products contain chemicals that do not easily break down, create air and water pollution, and can be harmful to humans. It is a little-known fact that large cleaning supply companies have “eco” or “green” supply lines that cost the same – or less than – conventional products. You just need to ask! Look for Green Seal certified products when making your next purchase.
5. Reduce Food Waste
The Green Restaurant Association states that an average restaurant wastes between 25,000 to 75,000 pounds of food per year. There are a couple options to combat this waste. You can reduce the food portions you give to customers to provide sure the food portions are filling but not overwhelming. A lot of food is thrown away because the customer was unable to eat the full plate. A second way to control food waste is keeping a sharp eye on your inventory, to avoid excess product and spoilage. Additionally, be familiar with the lifespan of food products to ensure peak flavor and accurate reorder schedules. Before placing food in storage, make note and highlight the expiration dates to gauge what you need to cook first. These simple steps can vastly reduce your food waste, lower food costs, and reduce disposal fees.
Boss Defrost encourages you to continue thinking about how to innovate into a financially resilient, sustainable, thriving business. Based on national water use averages, Boss Defrost pays for itself within three to four months of regular use.
Developed over the course of two years, and launched in January 2020, Boss Defrost is transforming the way restaurants thaw sealed frozen food. Whether your priority is water conservation, efficiency, or capital preservation, we invite you to join the revolution!