‘Eco-friendly’ seems to be another one of those omnipresent buzzwords nowadays. What exactly does it mean then? Being eco-friendly simply refers to living in harmony with the environment, without causing any harm to it. With a restaurant earning 3-9% of its total revenue, eco-friendly practices can increase it to as much as 30%.
Adopting eco-friendly practices might sound daunting – well, rest assure as we will be offering you practices that are effective yet affordable.
It’s time to ditch those styrofoam and plastic take-out containers! Look out for biodegradable materials such as recycled paper or corn-based plastics. These materials take up lesser carbon footprint, and are hence more eco-friendly. Another method that would require a bit more effort would be encouraging consumers to bring their own containers (like Tupperwares); at the same time, it might work better if incentives were given to consumers who do that. For instance, you could offer a cup of free drink to any customer that brings their own containers for take-outs.
A paperless office is in fact extremely feasible with the onslaught of new technology. Saving and reusing paper reduces deforestation, keeping the green lungs of our environment intact. The first step to transforming your operations would be to go digital by having your own website, email and social media web links to act as a point of contact between you and your customers. Send out information regarding promotions, new set lunch deals through emails instead of flyers and posters, and it might help if you have your own customer database. If you have been taking orders for delivery and pickups over the phone and paper, it is time to switch over to a tech-based solution/online ordering system, which gives you access to your customer database as well. In short, this form of paperless practice (food ordering system) is one way to ‘green’ up your restaurant.
Cutting back on energy use works in 2 ways: first, it helps to shrink your utilities; second, it reduces the amount of natural resources being extracted. Let us look at a breakdown of energy use in a typical restaurant:
- Cooking equipment (35%)
- Heating and cooling systems (28%)
- Dishwashing (18%)
- Lighting (13%)
- Refrigeration (6%)
Energy efficiency can be attained by purchasing the right electrical appliances with energy efficiency ratings. The National Environment Agency of Singapore (NEA) has made it compulsory for energy labelling to better inform consumers on their choices. Thus, choosing the right electrical appliance for your restaurant is now a much more convenient process. There are also energy-saving habits such as running on full-load while using the dishwasher and to perform regular maintenance for your electrical appliances.
Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive. Take this list as a first step in promoting eco-friendly living, and be a positive influence on your customers.