There are many quick and easy ways your restaurant can go green and ensure that its natural resources last for future generations. In the restaurant industry, going green means pursuing environmentally friendly practices that help your business decrease its footprint on Earth. You can achieve this goal by cutting down on energy usage, using less disposable products and minimizing food and drink waste.
Eco-friendly practices are suitable for the environment, and they can save your business hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. According to a Purdue University study, two-thirds of today’s restaurant consumers are willing to pay more at a restaurant if it utilizes eco-friendly practices.
One surefire way to make your restaurant eco-friendly is to reduce alcohol waste. Bartenders may intentionally or unintentionally overpour drink orders when they’re hoping to earn more tips or attempting to eyeball serving sizes.
How Self-Pour Reduces Waste
Self-pour can make your restaurant more green by reducing waste. According to Hotel Business Review, wastage or theft accounts for $10 billion in losses annually for bars in the United States. Since self-pour systems are designed to charge for every ounce poured, your keg yield will be closer to 100%. While overpouring can be intentional or unintentional, the resulting waste is the same. That’s where self-pour comes in.
- Lessening the chances of overpouring: Even the most experienced bartenders can overpour on occasion. Without the proper measurement tools, eyeballing it seems the only way to go. However, even years of experience do not eliminate human error.
- Eliminating incorrect orders: Sometimes, customers may order the wrong beer and request a new one to be made. On the other hand, bartenders can pour the wrong beer, use the wrong glass or mishear the customer. It happens. Because customers have total control with self-pour, human error is eradicated.
- Decreasing staff comps and giveaways: Sometimes, bartenders decide to give away free beer to earn more tips. Although this tactic may work for them, it is not beneficial for the business owner
- Making it impossible to overpour: With self-serve systems, the customer has no choice but to pay for every drop.
- Ensuring customers pay for samples: Customers pay for their samples with self-pour because the system charges for every drop poured
- Monitoring staff pours: Self-pour systems reduce waste by ensuring that staff is held responsible for their pours. Because all the pours of your team and customers are logged automatically, there’s no chance of staff comping beers.
- Cutting down on foam: Excessive foam is usually caused by improper temperature control. Self-serve systems are designed to yield proper dispense equipment and temperature, thus reducing waste by excessive foam.
How to Reduce Everyday Waste in Your Bar or Restaurant
Today, more consumers believe organic and eco-friendly combined is better than eco-friendly or organic alone. It naturally follows, then, that serving organic products in an eco-friendly environment is sure to draw more customers. According to a 2014 Purdue University study published in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, well over half of consumers are willing to spend more if a company uses environmentally friendly practices.
Additionally, an internet study of 115 participants established that green practices in restaurants were a critical determining factor in whether or not an individual returned. The participants in this study fell within the family/casual dining segment and determined if a restaurant was “green” based on the following: conservation practices, restaurant operation routines, organic options and level of carbon footprint reduction.
Here are a few ways you can reduce waste and make your facility greener:
- Use kegged wine rather than bottles: Using bottled wine can lead to more waste in your restaurant. When you open wine bottles, they go bad within a day or two, and the remaining product has to be thrown away. Also, the process of packaging wine in bottles produces a surplus of cork and glass waste and excess pollution associated with transportation and delivery.
- Use washable napkins rather than paper napkins: Cloth napkins can be washed and reused. Once they are no longer nice enough to be used for guests, they can also be repurposed for cleaning cloths and other uses.
- Get the most use out of your dishwasher: Train your staff to do a quick prewash of dishes to remove food and grime. This helps the dishwasher more effectively clean the dishes. Dishware should also be stacked in the dishwasher so that there are no extra spaces. Remember to change the water regularly in the dishwasher as well and ensure its filters are clean. Ensuring your dishwasher is operating at its most efficient can help conserve energy and water use.
- Eliminate excess ordering with a purchasing cycle: The purchasing cycle is the process by which you order, obtain and purchase the goods and services your restaurant or bar needs. To reduce waste, look for trustworthy operations that are not afraid of owning the entire inventory process. You can also invest in an inventory management software to make every bit of the process easier.
- Utilize a digital menu rather than a printed one: While printed menus might become stained or damaged over time and have to be replaced or thrown away, digital menus are reusable for the long term.
- Regulate A/C and heat levels in your bar or restaurant: Try to keep all windows and doors shut — this will prevent too much cold or heat from escaping your restaurant or bar.
- Use energy-efficient lights: Replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs can make a world of difference in cutting energy costs in your restaurant.
- Install a hand drying machine rather than having staff and customers use paper towels: Hand dryers create significantly less waste than paper towels and cost less. Hand dryers cost between .02 cents and .18 cents in electricity per day, while paper towels usually cost approximately one cent per sheet.
- Cut out the use of plastic straws (or make them optional): More than eight million tons of plastic enters the oceans every year. Not using plastic straws, or only offering them to customers who specifically request them is one-way restaurants are cutting down on plastic.
- Use dishware when you can instead of relying on plastic cups: You can ask customers if they’d like their beverages to go or in the restaurant before pouring. Automatically assuming they’re ordering to go and pouring their drinks in a one-time plastic cup to go creates more waste than necessary.