Sustainability is a serious concern for businesses in every industry. According to a recent report, global carbon emissions increased by 2% over the past year.
All businesses are expected to do their part to minimize their carbon footprint. The restaurant industry is no exception. Here are some things that restaurant owners need to keep in mind.
Consumers are more concerned about sustainability
There is a strong market argument in favor of sustainability. Polls have shown that 74% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services. Restaurants that offer sustainable services can increase their market share.
The demand for sustainability is likely to increase as concerns over global warming escalate. This will probably increase the market share for green restaurants.
Restaurant industry groups are hoping their members find more sustainable business models
Abraham Zaiderman states that a growing number of restaurants have expressed an interest in going green. Unfortunately, many of them don’t know where to start.
The National Restaurant Association and other restaurant industry groups are helping them. National Restaurant Association recently held a conference on sustainability. During the Second Annual Sustainability Executive Study Group meeting, restaurant executives and representatives from hospitality companies discussed a number of relevant topics. These discussions included:
- Reasons that sustainability can help improve profitability
- Animal welfare topics
- Tips to help restaurants find sustainable food sources
- General guidelines to improve energy efficiency
- Training recommendations to help employees create a more sustainable food service operation
Restaurant owners and executives that attended this meeting thought that it offered a lot of insightful tips that can help improve sustainable practices.
Demand for sustainability is regional but increasing throughout the country
Before the turn of the century, sustainability was not as much of a priority. People driving the interest in sustainability were limited to a handful of densely populated urban nodes.
This has changed over the past 20 years. While interest in green living is still more topical in some parts of the country than others, it is rapidly spreading. Even communities like Las Vegas have suddenly expressed a strong interest in sustainability. In fact, some experts feel that Nevada may surpass California as the state that is most focused on green living.
What does this mean for restaurant owners? The potential revenue that they can generate in some markets by tapping the sustainable movement will be higher than others. However, demand for sustainable solutions is quickly growing throughout the country. Regardless of where they are based, they should be able to grow their business by focusing on sustainable solutions.
Sustainability doesn’t need to be more costly
One of the reasons that many restaurants resisted embracing the sustainable movement is that they were concerned it would be too expensive. However, operating a sustainable business may actually be cheaper in the long run.
“As with any business decision, it depends how well you execute,” says Zaiderman, “make sure that you do your research and find out how you can operate a sustainable business, while keeping costs as low as possible.”