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How to Make Your Restaurant More Sustainable in 2021

Kadence Edmonds
15 Jul 2021

Sustainability is undoubtedly one of the biggest trends in the hospitality industry. There’s a growing interest from consumers all over the world who want to know if their meal is responsibly-sourced, and if the restaurant they chose to dine at is minimising environmental damages.  

Success in the restaurant industry involves providing guests with the experience they’re seeking. This means adopting new, and more sustainable practices in the kitchen and front of house. Many restaurants may be scared to change to a more sustainable approach due to the perceived costs involved. However, there are a number of practices that can be added to daily operations, and not all of them cost a fortune.  

We take a look at just some of the practices your business could incorporate to be more sustainable in 2021.

Choose local 

Growing more local supply chains might seem difficult at first, but it will be hugely advantageous for your restaurant in the long run. Not only will sourcing and using local ingredients support the local community and farmers, but it will also help you to reduce your carbon emissions by shortening the supply chains you use to secure product.  

These benefits will far outweigh any struggles faced by implementing more locally-sourced produce into your menu. Not only will you be supporting a more sustainable approach to dining but it could also potentially drive more business.

Statistics show that diners are looking to enjoy a culinary experience, and one of the best ways to deliver this is to offer dishes that use locally-sourced ingredients.

Create a seasonal menu

Along with locally-sourced ingredients, it’s important to use produce that is fresh, readily available, and in-demand. Choosing seasonal produce is the number one thing your restaurant can do to be more sustainable, and it will also help reduce food waste and energy usage.

The problem in today’s climate is that it’s fairly easy to source produce and proteins that are out of season in your region. But the statistics show that consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and aware of food sourcing, so switching your menu to seasonal can also benefit your business. 

Expand your plant-based choices

With consumers becoming increasingly aware of their food sources, plant-based alternatives have become even more popular with people who aren’t vegan or vegetarian. Providing a wider range of vegan and vegetarian options is one way to ensure that you’re staying in line with the new demands. What’s more, it will also create a more sustainable dining experience.

Manage your food waste 

Food wastage is an area where you can make the most impact. In the UK alone, almost two hundred thousand tonnes of food is needlessly disposed of each year by restaurants, costing upwards of £6bn. Not only is this astonishing level of waste adding to landfill and harming the environment, but it’s also equally damaging to your restaurant’s profitability.  

The key to reducing food waste is to understand and track all the waste that your restaurant is currently creating. You can do this by implementing a thorough inventory management process via the stock control software on your restaurant EPOS system. Inspect these stock reports and visualise where you’re creating waste so you can look to change and adapt your processes.

Click here for our complete guide on how to manage inventory more effectively.

Reconsider single-use items

Making a positive difference in 2021 could be as simple as changing your packaging.

One unforeseen consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic was that single-use items were needed as a way of ensuring the health and safety of staff and customers. However, as we enter into the ‘new normal’ in a post-pandemic world, reusable items will likely take priority once again.

While it may seem daunting, and somewhat unachievable, to reduce all single-use items at first, you can make the transition incrementally, phasing out single-use items one-by-one. Start by returning to washable glassware, dishware, and serving equipment. You can start to use sustainable alternatives to single-use items like cutlery, bowls and coffee cups, and plastic straws.  

For example, your business could look to swap to a takeaway coffee cup like BioCups which are lined with a plant-based bioplastic (PLA) that emits 70% less carbon in its production, when compared to PE Plastic-lined coffee cups which are made from finite fossil resources and contribute to climate change.

Go paperless 

Restaurants have been found to produce as much as 1.5 billion pounds of paper waste each year - and that’s just on receipts!

The good news is that this type of waste is completely avoidable. Thanks to new technology, more and more restaurateurs are choosing to change their operations in ways that reduce paper waste.  

Digital Receipts 

As many as 90% of printed transaction receipts are thrown straight in the bin. Not only does this have a devastating impact on the environment, but it’s also harmful to your restaurant’s bottom line. Digital receipts offer a way to reduce this level of waste, and they can be easily sent to customers through your Epos Now point of sale system. What’s more, with digital receipts, you can use customer contact details to grow your email marketing list.   

Kitchen Display Screens (KDS)

Another wasteful and costly practice is the use of paper kitchen dockets. These printed tickets can be incorrect, or even get lost, making them a highly inefficient way to communicate between the front of house and kitchen.

Kitchen Display Screens (KDS) are an excellent alternative to paper kitchen dockets. With a KDS, kitchen staff can view every order in one central place, and monitor changes in real-time. The result is seamless communication between your servers and the kitchen, driving increased accuracy and more efficient practices. 

Build a more sustainable restaurant with Epos Now

Your point of sale system is central to your business’ ongoing success and ensuring that you run a more efficient and sustainable business. With a modern POS system, you can do all of the following: 

  • Offer delivery, takeout, and at-table ordering services
  • Connect with 100+ apps to assist with key business functions like marketing, customer loyalty, digital receipts, accounting
  • Accept credit, debit, gift cards, and contactless payments
  • Manage your business from anywhere with 24/7 cloud access

Contact a consultant to learn more about Epos Now!