U.S. Restaurants Improve Sustainability Efforts
A new study from the National Restaurant Association shows that, on the whole, the U.S. restaurant industry is boosting sustainability efforts, which include energy-saving equipment, food waste reduction and water conservation.
The report provides the latest trends in environmental practices in the restaurant industry, along with consumer insights. It aims to help restaurant operations of all types and sizes understand what other restaurateurs are doing to begin or continue their own sustainability journey.
The association surveyed more than 500 restaurant owners and operators about their sustainability efforts, opportunities and challenges. More than 1,000 consumers also were surveyed about the best ways restaurants can communicate their sustainability initiatives to their guests.
Key takeaways from the report:
Energy-saving equipment and practices are common: About eight in 10 restaurant operators use energy-efficient lighting, while six in 10 use programmable heating, ventilation and air conditioning thermostats. More than four in 10 use Energy Star-rated refrigerators, freezers and ice makers.
Food waste reduction is emerging as a key activity for operators: About half of restaurant operators track the amount of food waste their restaurant generates and many operators (about one in five) donate edible leftovers to charities.
Water-saving innovations are gaining ground: Low-flush toilets are in use in about half of restaurant operations. More than one in four restaurants are using other innovations such as high-efficiency pre-rinse spray valves and faucet aerators.
The State of the Restaurant Sustainability leverages other association surveys, including the Association’s “What’s Hot in 2018” culinary forecast, to offer a comprehensive snapshot of sustainability in the restaurant industry.