Americans love dining out, and spend a pretty penny doing so. In 2008, it was estimated that Americans would spend $558 billion to fill their bellies on meals prepared outside the home. But just because there are 945,000 restaurants nationwide and hungry people eager to dine, the majority of Americans aren’t willing to settle for just any old restaurant. In fact, the food industry consulting firm Technomic, reported that 79 percent of diners would choose a 'certified green' restaurant over one that wasn’t, and The National Restaurant Association said that 4 out of 10 diners consider the conservation efforts of a restaurant when choosing where to dine out. With so many Americans looking for restaurants that leave a smaller carbon footprint on the environment, it’s no wonder that restauranteurs are taking action.
Restaurants are the retail world’s largest user of energy, and more and more owners are trying to reduce their environmental impact. We see them implementing recycling and composting programs, installing energy and water saving appliances, buying local ingredients, and serving purified tap water. According to Annika Stensson, spokesperson for the NRA, “Restauranteurs are absolutely concerned about environmental sustainability – because it’s the right thing to do, because it can cut costs and save money, and because it appeals to consumers.” The Green Restaurant Association adds that going 'green' is also a good driver of publicity. “You can look far and wide and it will be difficult to find a restaurant that doesn’t want more publicity. Publicity drives customers in. It increases the loyalty of current customers. It makes employees feel good and it creates a stronger brand,” said CEO of the GRA, Michael Oshman. 'Green' restaurants are the buzz, and smart restauranteurs know it.
Eliminating bottled water is a popular 'green' step in the restaurant world. Instead of wasting energy and money shipping water across the world and trucking it to the restaurant, restaurant owners choose to install purified water and carbonation systems. With the systems in place, tap water becomes purified and chilled made-to-order still and sparkling water.
Owners feel that installing purified water and carbonation systems is the right thing to do from an environmental standpoint, because they leave little to no carbon footprint, reduce waste, and boost environmental credibility. From a business standpoint, they also feel it’s the right move.
After installing an in-house water purification and carbonation system, The Sun Dial Bar, and View Restaurant in Atlanta, GA quickly experienced the financial perks of going 'green.' Paul Slogig, their Director of Food and Beverage said “our restaurant chose a sustainable, high quality alternative to bottled water, and our water sales have been an enormous success while generating profit on a monthly basis.”
Saving money and cutting costs are crucial to running a successful restaurant in this current economic environment, and going 'green’ can accomplish both, while also being the right thing to do.
What are the 'green' restaurants in your area doing?