If we go two decades back most restaurants had menus according to what their chefs liked to cook and what they knew guests liked to eat. Very few restaurants considered the seasonal and local products or thought about the consequences of importing ingredients from across the globe.
Now the environment and climate have changed drastically, with guests making more conscious decisions than ever before about where their food comes from. And with this increased awareness comes a responsibility for restaurants to be more cautious in their sourcing and how they operate their businesses.
To take a step towards sustainability in commercial kitchen as a process and evolution, you can get help from a restaurant consultant. Here are 9 things you can do to get started.
Serve Seasonal Options: The best thing and the first step you can take to make your restaurant sustainable is to keep your menu seasonal. Customize the menu according to the seasonal produce available in your region. In the regrowth season of seafood options swap with poultry or meat options. Operating this way requires a certain amount of flexibility and creativity on the part of the kitchen staff, but the quality is definitely worth the effort. Rotate dishes every 4-6 weeks to accommodate ingredients with short growing seasons.
Buy Local Produces in Bulk: Source as much product locally as you can. Local suppliers will also come to you as they understand that you purchase locally. Purchase peak-season produce in bulk when it tastes better and at lower rates. Then you can find innovative ways to use them by drying, freezing, and preserving. Limit the items on the menu so less waste is generated.
Grow in your Kitchen Garden: Start your own kitchen garden, hire a gardener to tend it. Using freshly grown carrots, cabbage, beets, broad beans gives the cooks a new appreciation for items in their cooking. Also, the food waste generated can now go back into the garden as compost.
Install Energy-Saving Technologies: A large part of the kitchen’s environmental impacts can be related to overconsumption including energy usage. Installing energy-efficient appliances, lighting, heating, and cooling systems can help with both the environment and your operations line. It also becomes attractive to your customers and offers the best secure pricing structure. A restaurant consultant can give you a perspective regarding the appliances that can be helpful in your kitchen.
Partner with Right Producers: Connect your restaurants to responsible suppliers and operators. Suppliers that follow sustainable practices also look for ethical partners. Support local cottage industries, and organic farms. Source fish, poultry, meat, seafood, and dairy products from sustainable sources.
Waste Management: Find every opportunity to reduce waste. Food waste can be weighed and composted so that it’s being utilized. Recycle glass and cardboard. Return packaging to your suppliers to be reused. Opt for compostable materials for delivery containers.
Train Your Staff: One person in your organization who really believes in the cause needs to educate your staff to make it work. Take the team out to local farms and vineyards so they can learn about the products they’re working with. If a guest asks why something is not on the menu, the staff can explain how you plan your menu around sustainability in commercial kitchen.
Save Water: Monitor leaky pipes and taps and run dishwashers on maximum load are the first steps towards saving water in a commercial kitchen. Using low water-consuming pot washing equipment can save you an average of 70% water. You may need the services of a restaurant consultant to help you in this area. A major step that you can take is to stop the sale of packaged drinking water.
Invest for Long Run: “If you buy a cheap item, you’ll also need to replace it quickly, but a better product with a better warranty on it you may pay an extra, but it will also depreciate in a longer time. Energy-efficient coffee machines and eco-friendly refrigerators will also serve for a longer time.
Even if it’s not perfect, your effort is a beautiful act of love for Mother Nature. Try to do your best. Take a step towards a greener future.