Finally, and this likely seems the most obvious when we think about sustainability, it’s important to think about ways to reduce waste and environmental impact from your restaurant.
First up, food waste. A great, easy way to reduce your food waste is to contribute to a community compost center. Not only will you sustainably be getting rid of your food scraps, but you’ll be contributing to local farming. Another more involved way to reduce your food waste is to invest in a just in time (JIT) inventory system, integrated with your POS. This software will track your inventory levels on a real-time basis and place orders with your suppliers accordingly so that you’re not ordering extraneous food that will go to waste.
Upgrading your POS to track customer sales data on the cloud can also reduce food waste because you can access historical order volume data to inform your forecasts, making them more accurate, i.e. less risk of waste.
In addition to thinking about ways to recycle your restaurant’s food usage, you’ll also want to consider opportunities to reduce or reuse things like utensils, plates, etc. You can start first by converting these items over from paper or purchase supplies made from recycled materials. Next, you can reduce the packaging in which you serve your food or the number of trays/plates that are used. This will cut down on paper or plastic usage as well as the water needed for cleaning.
If you’re operating a fast casual restaurant, offer recycling bins with clear signage as to what should be put in them to encourage your customers to use them. If you're starting a new restaurant, think carefully about where you're building and/or buying and the environmental impact to any location you choose. Ultimately, there are countless ways to reduce, reuse and recycle your restaurant’s materials to strengthen your sustainability position.
Related: Leveraging technology to tackle food waste