Five Ways Your Restaurant Can “Go Green”

The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show 2011 held in May brought together hundreds of exhibits, celebrity chef demos, and numerous panels and education sessions, including a keynote from General Colin Powell. Coyle presents part 2 of a series of 7, highlighting key lessons and current trends from the exciting event.

What’s going on in the restaurant industry?  Cornell University’s School of Hotel Adminisration’s Dean Michael Johnson mediated a panel of top innovators including Mr. Daniel Rosenthal of The Rosenthal Restaurant Group, Ms. Elizabeth Blau of Elizabeth Blau & Associates , Zachary Bruell of Parallax, Table 45 and L’Albatros, and Drew Nieporent of Myriad Restaurant Group.  Interestingly, this dynamic group touched on a lot of topics but kept coming back to basics.  Part 1 of this four part series is below.

Some of the hot topics they touched on included:

  1. Green initiatives and sustainable sourcing
  2. Promotions and Deal Sites
  3. Menus & Facility Design
  4. Back to Basic

Green Initiatives & Sustainable Sourcing

While there are increasing numbers of programs available to help restaurants to become sustainable and save money, the problem lies in what level do you participate and what is considered “local.”

Rosenthal is one of the founders of the Green Chicago Restaurant Coop.  The concept of this coop is that businesses that join can work together with vendors and providers to cut costs by doing things in bulk.  Some of the initiatives Rosenthal has implemented are as follows:

  • Printing materials on recycled paper
  • Recycling grease from the restaurants to grease the presses the menus are printed on.
  • Delivery System primarily on foot
  • Converting to cfl lighting
  • Sourcing Locally (determining what this means is still ambiguous with some citing anything you can get within one day’s drive and others more or less)

These are just a few of the innovations Rosenthal discussed, inspiring thought as to what restaurateurs, large and small can do to make a difference both to the environment and to their bottom line.

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