Does sustainability make a difference for restaurant patrons? Absolutely, as many consumers look far beyond the menu offerings and service. The efforts to reduce waste, recycle and donate food are finally being recognized by a sophisticated generation of restaurant patrons.
According to the “What’s Hot” survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, environmental sustainability is ranked among the top 10 culinary trends in 2018. More than 55% of consumers consider waste reduction efforts as important when choosing a restaurant.
Restaurants who obtain food locally are not only supporting their community but also attracting consumer interest. Over ¾ of family dining, fine dining, casual dining and fast casual restaurants have experienced increased demand for locally sourced meal items.
Also among the hottest trends surveyed across 700 chefs in the American Culinary Foundation, hyper-local sourcing is the number 1 culinary concept. This new age restaurant trend incorporates house specialty-made menu items, onsite brewing and even onsite gardens.
How do restaurant operators approach marketing their sustainability efforts? While there are dozens of ways to display sustainability efforts, the most effective way is to print it where every patron will see it -- on the menu. It is also vital to house sustainability information on the restaurant website and social media profiles.
If you are looking for other ways to spread the word, have your employees talk to patrons to develop rapport and share sustainable practices. Donating leftovers, conserving utilities and using packaging safe for the environment are just a few initial steps to take that can make a huge difference in your following.
As you explore a sustainable journey, the National Restaurant Association has networking opportunities and learning programs to guide restaurant owners in reducing their environmental footprint.
Download the State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018 report to learn more about how culinary trends are impacting food service operations.