Green Strategies: Three Sustainable Strategies for Restaurants

Cara Proszek

Today’s restaurant industry brings about a unique conundrum. In the last decade, spending at restaurants and bars has grown twice as fast as other retail spending, and millennials eat out five times a week on average, 14 percent more than baby boomers. Despite these growing demands, restaurateurs are seeing their costs increase, making it increasingly difficult to compete and differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

Although often overlooked, sustainability offers a solution for decreasing costs through managing energy, waste and water usage, which is more vital to the restaurant industry now than ever before.

Averaging 38 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 111 cubic feet of natural gas annually per square foot, restaurants in the United States are among the highest energy-consuming buildings. Because energy is one of the top three operating costs for restaurants, any reductions would dramatically improve the bottom line and even ensure long-term success. Some restaurants operate on margins so slim that a $1 increase in minimum wage can increase the likelihood of closing.

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