Talking Point: What’s missing from your green restaurant strategy?

The Marriott London Heathrow uses its roof to grow kitchen produce

The Marriott London Heathrow uses its roof to grow kitchen produce

The restaurant industry is more competitive than ever. Establishing a profitable and sustainable hotel restaurant business model is essential for survival, and finding ways to cut costs can present golden opportunities to make a restaurant better for the environment and please your customers at the same time. With Climate Week approaching, Anx Patel, CEO of GoKart offers some ways to ensure your restaurant is not only kinder to the environment, but more cost effective too.

Seasonal selections

Global importation has pretty much made the seasonality of foods a thing of the past. This may be great for those who want to eat strawberries all year round, but it is no good for a conscious consumer or restaurant. Designing menus that correspond with seasonal produce is an important way of saving money, avoiding the air miles and subsequent pollution attached to imported produce, and of creating a characterful restaurant that avoids monotonous offerings. Customers enjoy seeing new dishes be introduced, especially when they are a great way of celebrating the cycle of the seasons and all the wonderful ingredients they produce.

Grow it yourself

Growing your own produce is not as difficult, or as time- and space-consuming, or expensive, as you might imagine. Pots or grow boxes are a fine substitute for proper vegetable patches, and they can be kept in conservatories, mini pop-up greenhouses, roofs or gardens, so if there is nowhere in the hotel grounds itself that can accommodate them, try thinking creatively about the spaces available to you. Core ingredients, such as potatoes, onions and herbs, can be grown all year round, and this solution is not only interesting for guests to see, but saves further expense on produce. Not to mention, cooking with your own organic produce is a great selling point for the environmentally conscious customer.

Shop around and do it locally

Establishing a cost-effective supply chain is integral to building a restaurant with a good business model and longevity. Sourcing local produce is a great way of cutting transport costs, building a healthy supply chain, and being part of a network of independent traders who support each other. Shopping around and checking costs is an essential part of making any purchase  and this step should always be taken when devising a supply chain that a business relies on. Technology is helping to make this easier - ordering app GoKart allows restaurants to browse prices, place orders and organise delivery of local produce quickly and securely. This cuts out the carbon footprint of transportation, and prevents restaurateurs from paying more than they need to. Local produce can also be exchanged with minimal packaging, which helps to further reduce the waste involved.

Re-think waste disposal

The recycling and waste disposal sector is well established, so restaurants should be taking full advantage of it in order to cut costs and stay green. Why not go the whole hog by getting a solution that recycles all the food waste produced by the restaurant? Consider tracking, weighing and recording all your waste. You’ll be surprised by how much you’re throwing away. But understanding your waste throws up a raft of solutions. Opt for the least packaging possible when placing orders and shop around for the best recycling service with the most affordable rates to deal with your plastics, metals and cardboards. If you take steps to minimise the amount of waste that goes to landfill, you’ll quickly notice how much waste your business in producing and it will encourage you to think differently in the future. Remember the old adage: what gets measured gets managed.

Team spirit

A healthily functioning business relies considerably on its team. If they do not share your vision, understand its importance, and approach their work with the level of dedication and passion that you do, then they are not going to be an efficient extension of your brand. An employee who doesn’t appreciate your commitment to responsible waste disposal for example, might sneak recyclables into the rubbish bin to save time, or keep the burners on when nothing’s cooking, and this not only works against your ethics, but will soon start to add up and lose the business money. Take time with training so people understand why they’re being asked to perform a task in a certain way. Give them responsibilities so they have ownership of a particular sustainability action. And ask for their input. Sometimes the best solutions come from the people who best understand the department. A solid team of people who go to work every day with the same objectives as you is absolutely essential to maintaining an efficient and environmentally friendly restaurant and hotel.    

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GoKart is a UK B2B business mobile trading platform that saves food businesses up to 20% on their ingredients by combining their buying power in their simple to use ordering app. For more information visit www.getgokart.com

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