Steps to Sustainability for Restaurants

Written by Poppy Stringer
March 19, 2024
4 min read

In an era where awareness of the environmental impacts of human activities is on the rise, the term 'sustainability’ has transcended mere buzzword status to become an essential expectation of every government,  organization, business and even individual. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the food industry where consumers are not just hungry for delicious meals but also for transparency and responsibility in how those meals are produced and served. 

In a national study, it was found that 70% of Brits want restaurants to be more sustainable and that 43% of consumers are now even willing to pay more to support sustainable restaurant practices. There are significant business benefits to becoming a sustainable restaurant, and it's also crucial for the environment.

Amazonico, one of SkootEco’s sustainable partners

In this article, we will explore the criteria to be met for a restaurant to define itself as sustainable. 

Whilst the word ‘sustainable’ has been used loosely since the 80’s only recently has it truly become a way of life for businesses meaning that the criteria surrounding what makes a restaurant sustainable is not entirely concrete. However, the UN defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” meaning that a commitment to environmentally friendly practices is all it takes for a restaurant to be classified as sustainable. 

There are several key drivers to help become a sustainable restaurant.

A Thoughtful Sourcing Strategy

Sustainability in dining starts long before the food reaches the plate. It begins with sourcing ingredients responsibly. Sustainable restaurants prioritise local and seasonal produce, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation and supporting local farmers. Additionally, they will try to source their food from farmers who do not use damaging fertilisers and pesticides, which often means they will prioritise organic produce. They seek out suppliers who adhere to ethical and environmentally friendly practices.

Minimal Waste, Maximum Innovation

A sustainable restaurant operates with minimal waste at every stage of its operations. From the kitchen to the table, every effort is made to reduce, reuse, and recycle. This may include using biodegradable bin bags, replacing paper napkins with linen ones or switching to electronic receipts over paper ones. Additionally, food waste will be minimised by implementing composting programs or repurposing food scraps in the kitchen creatively. By embracing innovation and mindful consumption, these establishments prove that being eco-friendly is no hard task.

DIY: How to Make a Compost Bin - Little Tree Garden Market

Prioritising Renewable Energy Sources 

Many restaurants are currently undergoing a renewable revolution, aiming to switch their energy 100% over to renewable energy sources. Some sustainable energy solutions include, energy efficient lighting such as LED, the use of solar panels and wind turbines and the use of energy-efficient appliances. 

Transparency and Accountability

Perhaps most importantly, a sustainable restaurant is transparent and accountable in all its practices. From the origins of its ingredients to its waste management strategies, everything is open to scrutiny. These establishments don't just talk the talk; they walk the walk, inviting diners to join them on their journey toward a more sustainable future. These establishments make it clear that things such as food waste and carbon emissions are inevitable in the food industry but they ensure they creatively work around these issues and reduce the impacts of them. This leads to the next feature of a sustainable restaurant  

Carbon Offsetting 

Whilst the aim is to keep carbon emissions as low as possible, this can be very difficult and ultimately emissions at this stage in time are often unavoidable. With this in mind, many restaurants opt to offset their carbon emissions through offsetting schemes such as tree planting or purchasing verified carbon credits. With SkootEco restaurants can reduce their carbon footprint as we offer a service which automatically plants certified trees for every customer, offsetting any carbon generated during their dining experience. Our clients opt to have the Eco-contribution added to their bill meaning that the customers cover the cost of the trees, making the cash flow positive for your restaurant all whilst ensuring the environment is protected. 

If you’re interested in Climate Conscious Dining, get in contact to discuss our cost-free hospitality and restaurant solution that enables you and your guests to reduce their carbon footprints for every meal to make a climate-positive impact instantly.

In conclusion, what allows a restaurant to call itself sustainable isn't just one thing; it's a combination of thoughtful sourcing, minimal waste, a sense of transparency and accountability and a commitment to carbon offsetting.  It's a holistic approach to dining that recognises the interconnectedness of food, people, and the planet and it is the future of the restaurant industry. 

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Written by Poppy Stringer
March 19, 2024
4 min read