Sustainability is something that more and more consumers are looking for in their day-to-day lives. Appealing to a broader audience is common sense when running any business, and fortunately, we’re not here to tell you how to suck eggs (probably don’t, it’s pretty gross). Instead, in this article, we’ll run through some ways to add sustainable practices to your restaurant or cafe and how they can benefit your business.
Think local and seasonal
Do you ever wonder how your guests arrive at your restaurant or cafe? Probably not is the most likely answer. However, you would probably be pretty shocked if most of them came by plane (please ignore this if your venue is in an airport).
Buying local and seasonal produce not only cuts down on the amount of fuel required to get items on plates and in glasses, but it ensures the freshness of your menu. This might require a little more creativity on your behalf, but it will help keep customers coming back to try new items. Unveiling your new seasonal dishes should be an exciting time for everyone involved, and offering a taste of your local area is a great way to foster a sense of community.
Hot tip: You can use a hospitality-specific CRM to send automated emails to your customers, notifying them of your new seasonal menu or when their old favourite is back in rotation.
Increase your plant-based offering
Vegetarianism and veganism are both on the rise, and cafes and restaurants should be catering to these diets. But it isn’t just those sticking to the stricter diets who want meat-free options. Plenty of diners are more aware of the alternatives and may expect to see them.
An excellent example of this is the increase in non-dairy milk alternatives. From almond to oat to hemp, many plant-based milk varieties are familiar sights in cafes and restaurants.
Hot tip: Add dietary tags to your menu to make these items easily accessible for guests.
Reduce food waste
Reducing waste is best practice in general. There are estimates that up to a third of all the food produced in the world is lost or wasted, which is something we should all be conscious of and do our best to reduce.
Your cafe or restaurant can do its part by ensuring inventory management is taken seriously and all wastage is logged. You could also consider donating food to ensure that it isn’t truly going to waste.
Hot tip: Inventory management can be easily managed through point of sale (POS) software.
Say farewell to single-use
Plastic cutlery, straws and coffee cups are all heavy-hitters when it comes to wastage. Getting rid of them entirely might not be viable for your business. However, you can take steps to ensure you’re still operating with sustainability in mind.
Plenty of alternatives out there aren’t so harmful to the environment, so spend some time looking into other options before breaking out the disposable plastics.
Hot tip: If you churn through a large number of coffee orders each day, consider selling branded reusable cups or implementing discounts for those who bring their own.
Take all your marketing online
If you’re handing out flyers, coupons and loyalty cards, it’s time to hit pause on the printer. All your marketing efforts can be digitised to ensure unnecessary paper waste covered in your branding isn’t littering your local area.
Say goodbye to printed menus
Menus rarely stay the same for more than a couple of months. Seasonal produce comes and goes, salads need tinkering, or you spelled chincken wrong – there are plenty of reasons for a new menu run.
If every venue in Australia (approx 50.8k) printed three menus per year in batches of 50, that would equate to 7.6million pieces of paper. One tree can make around 10k sheets of paper, so that’s 760 trees cut down just for menus.
While that’s a theoretical number based on averages, it’s still too many damn trees! If we look at this globally, we’re in for some more shocking numbers (our copywriter isn’t very good at maths, so we’ll stick with this example).
Hot tip: An easy way to combat this is to implement digital menus in your restaurant or cafe. They allow you to make updates instantly, cut print costs, and seriously reduce the amount of paper waste your business produces.