The words natural and sustainable are currently all the buzz in restaurants. In a recent report by the National Restaurant Association, environmental sustainability was one of the top restaurant trends for the year. Eco-friendly restaurants use energy-efficient appliances, eliminate waste and serve locally-sourced foods and ingredients. Below are a few highlights from the report that are bound to make your restaurant sizzle.
Reducing energy use and conserving water are two simple ways to make your restaurant more sustainable while also saving money. Modern foodservice equipment is energy efficient and reduces cook and prep time. For tips on energy-efficient kitchen appliances or to speak with industry experts, consider attending the SoCalGas® Foodservice Equipment Expo. This annual event will take place on October 18 and 19 in the state-of-the-art SoCalGas Energy Resource Center in Downey, CA. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to talk with representatives from more than 75 manufacturers of the newest foodservice equipment. For more information or to register, visit socalgas.com/foodequipmentexpo.
Natural, Minimally-Processed Foods
Restaurateurs are also shopping locally for fresher foods and promoting sustainable ingredients in their menus. Forward-looking foodservice operators, such as Panera Bread and Chipotle, have taken the lead to make their products more clean and natural. Each week new chains announce that they are serving cage-free eggs or antibiotic-free chicken. Look at your menu, do you have an opportunity to sustainably upgrade your offerings and charge a little more?
Food Waste Reduction
Food waste happens at all levels of production and consumption, including food manufacturing and foodservice. More restaurants and manufacturers recognize the need to find ways to reduce food waste internally or throughout their supply chain. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance, a joint venture of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute and the National Restaurant Association, produced this food waste guide for the industry: http://www.foodwastealliance.org/