As a food and beverage professional, you're fully aware that nothing can make or break your business like perception!
We all know the buzzwords and phrases: farm to table, eco-friendly, environmental awareness, and sustainability.
Gone are the days when the tangibles were all that we had to rely on to drive traffic and revenue. Put out some tasty food, offer amazing customer service, and set up in a convenient location and the business could survive...if not, thrive.
Today, however, as many as 76% of customers across varying age groups will only choose an eatery if at least some of their products are sourced locally.
And, consumers are starting to demand that restaurants begin to follow that trend with equally sustainable practices concerning waste, energy, and water.
The State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018
The National Restaurant Association's recently released State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018 details where restaurants and food service outlets are winning and losing in regards to sustainability practice.
They performed a survey of 500 owner/operators and more than 1,000 consumers to gauge where we are as an industry, where we need to improve, and the effect that our sustainability efforts have on our customer relations.
The results of the survey show a trend in all segments of the food and beverage industry toward improved sustainability and energy efficiency practices.
It also showed that restaurants are interested in promoting their businesses to an increasingly environmentally conscious market.
Naturally, these practices and how they are marketed to consumers are affecting customer choice and, ultimately, revenue generation.
Customers were asked to rank seven options on a 1-10 scale regarding the medium through which they would like to receive information about a restaurant's sustainability practices:
The responses averaged about evenly, however, printing the information on the menu and including it on the establishment's website slightly edged out the other options.
While water and energy conservation efforts on the part of a restaurant did not rank quite as high as other sustainability measures – such as local sourcing, reducing food wastes, and recycling – there is a noticeable trend particularly among specific age groups.
Interestingly, Baby Boomers, ages 54-72, were the group that reported they would be most likely swayed to choose a food outlet with established energy and water conservation systems in place.
Millennials, ages 18-37, showed a similar interest at only a slightly lower percentage.
What this Means for You
The two age brackets leading the charge on the demand that the food service industry engages in more are key critical demographics for your sustainability efforts.
You see, 53% of Millennials report eating out at least once per week, whether it be at quick-serve, fast-casual, or casual-dining establishments.
However, Baby Boomers are dining out significantly less than Millennials. Yet, the age group has more disposable income, and they account for almost half of all consumption.
What this tells us is that a significant portion of potential revenue is tied to people that place value on our willingness to engage sustainability efforts.
Also, developing a resource conservation plan for your food service business can have a twofold benefit.
First, you’ll be able to market to those environmentally concerned groups. Second, an energy management system will save your business money through monitoring systems, thereby lowering utility bills.
The GWT2Energy team understands that embarking on a plan to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption sounds complicated and time-consuming. We also realize that owners and operators in the food service sector do not have time.
Luckily, we have developed a four-step plan to analyze and monitor your operations, maximize efficiency, and save your business as much as 25% on your yearly energy expenditures.
Give us a call today and discover ways on how you can save money for your restaurant while attracting new loyal customers through your sustainability efforts.