With consumers becoming increasingly focused on environmental responsibility, restaurant owners must become more conscious of their actions if they want to build and retain the loyalty of customers who are committed to sustainability. Restaurants going green face a lot of hard work and planning, but restaurant technology can be an enormous help. Here are four ways tech can help you keep the world a beautiful place:
1. Access information and data
Truly improving a restaurant’s sustainability quotient necessitates doing your homework. Every ethical, environmentally responsible eco-friendly restaurant is built on a wealth of research, especially when it comes to cost-effectively sourcing food, materials, and equipment and grappling with waste.
Food labeling can help you trace it from its origins in the field or farm to your restaurant. Leverage barcode technology to keep a record of your ingredients and the entities that produce them. This is also a solid practice to have in place in case an ingredient is recalled and you need to quickly identify and remove it from your stock.
2. Choose local and seasonal ingredients
To minimize the impact transporting ingredients has on the environment, restaurants going green use local and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. A Point of Sale (POS) system that supports vendor management will help you plan and prepare restaurant fare from ingredients that are in season and offered by local farmers. Follow the lead of savvy eco-friendly restaurant owners by also applying a bit of creativity to using stored bulk ingredients. Suppliers may be more willing to offer deals on bulk buys, helping you stay within your budget but still support sustainability. Be flexible and creative enough to make substitutions for other ingredients so you can feature “homegrown” items on your menu.
3. Minimize waste, improve efficiency
For restaurants going green, the benefits of reducing waste not only help the environment, but also help your bottom line. The less stock and supplies you waste, the less money you lose.
Utilize the inventory management component of your POS system to set optimum inventory levels for individual ingredients, in turn avoiding over-ordering, wasted perishables and increased costs. In an eco-friendly restaurant, operators also use the POS system to manage activities such as delivery and kitchen schedules to minimize wasted fuel and energy.
4. Emphasize sustainability in marketing campaigns
Any restaurant going green should make sure to let its customers know! Clearly communicate your business’ position on preserving the environment and the initiatives your business has underway. Leverage your POS system to, for instance, share messages on customer displays, digital signage, or on tablets at the table. You can also consider designing loyalty offers around sustainability, for example, awarding extra program points to customers who bring in their own coffee mugs instead of using paper ones.
These are just some of the ways for restaurants going green to evolve. Look for opportunities for change in your specific current practices and processes that can make a positive impact on the environment, and then spread the word to cultivate loyalty among today’s environmentally conscious consumers.