Tag Archives: green

Restaurant Sustainability: Best Practices

Today’s restaurant goers care more than ever about where their food comes from, responsible business practices and social responsibility.  In short, they care about restaurant sustainability and they speak with their wallets.  Sustainable practices are not only good for the environment, they can also save you money.  With this in mind, we took some time to scour the web for the easiest ways to improve restaurant sustainability and have aggregated the best ones for you!

Restaurant Sustainability: Best Practices

  1. Source Local: According to lightspeedhq.com, “purchasing food from a local vendor or farmers’ market means that the trip to your restaurant is shorter and less gas has been used on the journey”.  In addition, this supports local farmers and suppliers, and customers view this in a positive light.
  2. Cook What’s in Season: Openforbusiness.opentable.com suggests changing your menu four times a year (once for each season) and rotating new dishes in every six weeks or so to accommodate ingredients with short growing seasons.  In addition, if you can grow it yourself, do it!
  3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: This is a very simple way to not only cut costs, but to improve your restaurant sustainability.  According to buzztime, you can: buy kitchen and bar mats made from 100% recycled materials; recycle wood boxes, cardboard and glass bottles; and opt for beverage and takeout containers made from recycled paper or compostable materials.
  4. Recycle Fryer Oil: You may not even have to go anywhere to do this.  According to starchefs.com “there are biofuel companies across the country that will pick it up and convert it”.  The win is two-fold here.  You recycle your old oil, and you provide a cleaner source of fuel.
  5. Don’t Waste Ice: It takes energy and water to make ice, so don’t just automatically refill ice bins.  Starchefs.com suggests waiting until the bins get truly low, and only adding as much as needed to get through.

These tips are among the easiest to implement and can begin having a positive impact on your sales and reputation in the community.  Little steps add up and make a big difference over time, so keep it up!


Image from MorgueFile

Central’s Week in Brief: April 22, 2011

Since today is Earth Day, we thought it would be helpful to wrap up the week with a list of five things to do today (or any other day of the year) that will help the environment.  We’re especially fond of #5!

1) Visit Good Guide’s website to find out what products are the most environmentally friendly.  They even have a free iPhone app to use while shopping.   Just scan the barcodes of food and household products, to see the rating on how environmentally responsible the items are on a scale of one to 10.

2) Why not pamper yourself while saving the Earth?  Book a night (or even a weekend) at an environmentally friendly resort and enjoy rooms and restaurants in green style.

3)  Start a garden re-using common items.  This will not keep extra waste out of landfills, but will also give you some tasty, super-local food to use in your dishes.

4) Go paper free!  With all of the technology at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to abstain from using paper for one day.  Use e-mail, save and share forms or sign up for paperless billing (all of which can be kept in handy electronic folders) and you can save a few trees while making your life a little more organized.

5)  Download Central’s brand new Whitepaper, How to Make Your Restaurant Environmentally Friendly, to learn all about what to do to make your restaurant beneficial not just to customers, but also the planet! 

Top 10 Ways Central Can Help Your Cafeteria Go Green

Here are 10 ways Central can help you make your school cafeteria more eco-friendly!

1.       Napkin Dispensers: Leaving out a pile of napkins invites students to grab more than they need.  By purchasing a napkin dispenser, you will cut down on the amount of napkins your students will take—and they come in a variety of types, enabling you to choose one that best fits your cafeteria.

2.       Dry Erase/Chalkboard: Instead of printing out menus, whether it’s weekly or monthly, think about using a dry erase or chalkboard instead.  This will cut down on the paper you use and can make for a fun project at the beginning of everyday! Also, parents appreciate having menus online—which is a great way to post a monthly view.

3.       Compartment Cafeteria Trays: If you’re still using disposal trays, consider purchasing compartment trays.  They come in a variety of types from ABS and polypropylene to melamine and co-polymer.  Central has put together a compartment tray buying guide here, enabling you to find the best type of tray to fit your school.

4.       CREW 44” Conveyor Dishwasher: Jackson’s Crew 44” Conveyor dishwasher has the lowest water use of any conveyor in the industry!  This is an easy way to decrease water use in schools.  (Also, as a helpful hint, this conveyor dishwasher is under the Central Edge—which means along with the dishwasher you can get a pair of accent panels at no additional cost to you.  Check out the product for more information).

5.       Flatware: Similar to the trays, using disposable flatware can be very wasteful.  Consider using flatware, perhaps the 18/0 medium weight.

6.       Takeout Food Containers: While these might be best for untraditional cafeteria settings, like a university food court, G.E.T Enterprises has Eco-Takeouts™ Food Containers which are very eco-friendly and have a completely reusable design that reduces the waste produced and re-stocking costs from using disposable takeout containers.

7.       Recycling Containers: This was an obvious no-brainer to include!  But if you haven’t considered recycling at your school, it’s time to start.  Central has a variety of recycling containers to choose from.  And by getting the students to become involved with recycling at school, you might also get them to encourage parents to recycle at home as well.

8.       Towels: While it’s much easier to grab a paper towel to wipe up a mess, try using a towel instead. They come in a variety of shapes, materials and sizes.

9.       Hand Dryer: Piggy-backing off purchasing towels for messes, consider installing a hand dryer next to your sinks for employees and students to use after washing their hands, dishes, etc. to cut down on the use of paper towels. There are many types of hand dryers and purchasing one will save energy and HVAC expenses.

10.   Energy Star: When purchasing equipment, keep an eye out for Energy Star Rated items. These items use less energy and save money.  Click here to learn more about Energy Star products.

Saving Money and the Earth

Going Green is a more efficient way to operate and you can save money on your water bills, electric bills, taxes and more while decreasing the amount of pollution. Explore these links for more information.

  • If you are interested in saving money and reducing pollution, consider Going Green. This site can help you determine the changes you can make to save money and the Earth.  Also, find information about grants, loans and incentives available for businesses going green.
  • Energy Star products can save you money while fighting global warming. Use their savings calculator to determine how much you could save.
  • If you are budgeting for remodeling, look into grants and loans offered by the government.

Questions? Contact your Product Consultant at 800-222-5107.

Free ways to save energy in the kitchen

People toss around the terms green and energy efficient a lot these days. They are the new buzz words for many industries. But are they the same?

To me, green means friendly, and energy efficient means it’s going to save me money.

The terms are closely related, but I think it’s important to understand the differences in order to implement them effectively in your establishment, and to determine which avenue is the most important to you.

According to the Business and Media Institute, businesses can spend thousands of dollars “going green,” often waiting years to see any payoff. And CNN said HSBC spent $900,000 installing energy efficient lighting.

For restaurants and institutions already struggling with rising food and fuel costs, saving the planet may not be their #1 priority.

So what are some resources that we can start using right now?

The easiest way to conserve energy in the kitchen is to control your appliances– don’t let them control you! Schedule startups and shutdowns, and use timers. If you only use the fryer during your lunch rush, turn it off between meals. If a piece of equipment takes only a few minutes to preheat, it probably doesn’t need to be on and consuming energy all day.

According to the Foodservice Technology Center, you can save an average of $75 a year if you turn off the door heaters on your reach-ins. Generally, door heaters only need to be on if you see condensation on the doors.

Another “free” way to save energy is to set the water heaters on your dish machines only to the temperature required for specific tasks. Your dish machine’s water only needs to be at either 110°F or 140°F. A heater set even 10°F too high can cost more than $600 a year!

When you are ready to start making a financial investment toward a more efficient kitchen, it’s okay to start slowly. Most of us don’t have the resources to go all-out on a futuristic, multimillion dollar, state-of-the-art kitchen. FE&S says the best pieces of equipment to start with are fryers and dishwashers.

Fryers that are Energy Star certified are generally much more efficient than conventional fryers because they allow the operator to recycle the oil they’re using instead of paying someone to come get it and haul it away.

Likewise, energy efficient dishwashers are a plus because they save on energy and water.

Last, start with the biggest pieces of equipment that consume the most energy, like refrigerators and freezers, and, if you’re cooking in bulk, broilers and steamers.

For more tips, and a cost-savings calculator, visit CentralRestaurant.com

Resources on energy efficiency

Here’s a list of sites and resources on energy efficiency I’ve been gathering…