Eating at a restaurant is in most cases a joyous event; sometimes triggered by a special occasion or often simply a time to get together and converse with a family member, friend or business associate, it’s all the more valued after the restrictions of the past year. However, for all the positives of the customer experience and the contribution to the local economy, the reality is restaurants in the modern era have increasingly created a negative impact on the environment. This need not be the case. Sustainable restaurant practices can be employed, which create a positive impact on the community in important ways.
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
One of the hallmarks of sustainable restaurants is the farm-to-table movement. Sourcing menu ingredients from in-season, local facilities rather than purchase items that need to travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles, makes a significant reduction of the impact of the food supply chain on the planet.
Reduce contributions to landfills through recycling
Restaurants produce large quantities of “waste” in their daily operations, but does it all need to be discarded? New technologies now allow for the recycling of oil and grease to be transformed into fuel. Cardboard, if separated and broken down properly, is a high-volume waste product in most restaurants that can be recycled, and many communities already have s designated recycling receptacle alongside the trash dumpster.
Reduce food waste through source reduction
Food waste in restaurants is costly in multiple ways. Wasted food means that a significant portion of all parts of the food supply chain, the land to grow, the water to produce, the transportation and ultimate trip to the landfill, are used for food that is thrown away. Either an inventory management system or something less formal such as a waste log can help with over-ordering and food spoilage.
Increase food donation
Even the best managed restaurants will have food not appropriate for menu item purposes but still quite edible and healthy. Partnering with a local food bank or shelter can create a win-win situation. The restaurant can reduce their disposal costs and earn a tax-break, and people who find themselves caught in a food insecurity dilemma are provided with some relief.
Caterina’s Club’s Feeding the Kids program provides hot meals for food insecure children throughout Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. We rely on partnerships with restaurants, grocery stores and individuals to help us help the kids. Your donation matters.