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Five eco challenges for restaurants and solutions to implement right now

Consumers are getting increasingly aware of the progressing climate change and the challenge regarding microplastic waste.

eco trends for restaurant

Consumers are getting increasingly aware of the progressing climate change and the challenge regarding microplastic waste. Restaurants need to answer these social trends with the tech that supports building the eco-business without losing efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

The NASA data leaves no doubts regarding climate change. An average surface temperature has risen about 1.18 Celsius degrees since the late XIX century. The years 2016 and 2020 were the warmest since the beginning of the recording. The carbon dioxide levels have reached the values unseen in the human era. 

The data gathered by NASA clearly indicates that starting from 800,000 B.C.E. the level of carbon dioxide has never reached above 300 parts per million, to grow rapidly since 1950 to reach over 390 today. 

The overall awareness of the role of ecology in future development is increasing globally. According to the United Nations Development Program, more than half of people surveyed globally demand some actions on limiting the impact of climate change. The most popular are demands for supporting forest and land conservation (54%), more investments in renewable power sources (53%), and adopting more climate-friendly farming techniques (52%). 

Apart from demanding actions from decision-makers, consumers are increasingly aware of their own impact. This encourages restaurant owners to adopt new tech tools to deliver a more eco-friendly company and provide customers with ways to engage in building a better world. 

This text covers: 

  • How to get rid of paper receipts
  • How to waste less food in the restaurant
  • How to reduce the menu and promotion-related waste
  • How to promote sustainable food on the menu
  • How to reduce the delivery waste 

How tech can support building the eco restaurant

The top-of-mind approach to the ecology in the restaurant is built upon kitchen appliances bringing savings on utilities. Cutting the fees for water or electricity matters for the company and the planet alike, but it is hardly everything the company can do to be more eco-friendly. 

No paper receipts  

Apart from the fact that the receipt paper roll tends to finish at the least convenient time possible, the receipt itself is fat more toxic than it appears at first glance. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the receipt paper contains the Bisphenol-A, a toxic and potentially cancerogenic chemical. 

It is used to deliver a thermal activation used in printers. The pollutant can be easily absorbed through the skin, especially when touched frequently. The exposure can be of great risk for pregnant and nursing women as well as children, mostly due to disturbing the hormone balance and potential infertility. 

Apart from using the pollutant, the paper receipts generate tonnes of garbage every day. According to Wired, there are over 11.2 billion till receipts printed every year in UK-only. All of them are neither recyclable nor compostable due to the pollutants mentioned above. 

The solution

The paper receipts are unlikely to go away soon. The alternative is the adoption of a digital receipt, usually sent via email or a similar means of communication. 

Ordering Stack enables the restaurant to process the order in a fully digital environment, without the need to print the receipt, keeping full compliance with the local tax regulations. 

The lack of paper receipts protects the restaurant staff, who is overly exposed to the toxic chemicals, the customers who also avoid the exposition, and the planet, that gets rid of tonnes of toxic paper that is impossible to be dealt with in an eco-friendly way. 

Less food wasting 

Food wasting is one of the silent problems of the restaurant business – overstocking is the easiest way to ensure that customers will get the food they need. And with overstocks comes the wasting. 

According to Food and Agriculture Organization, the global food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tonnes of “primary product equivalents”. The total food wastage for the edible parts is estimated at 1.3 billion tonnes. The agency points out that up to 28% of the world’s agricultural area is used to produce the food that is later wasted. This sums up to 1.4 billion hectares of land. 

By that, the direct economic consequences of food wasting sum up to $750 billion annually. And to make things even worse – the food wastage carbon footprint is estimated at 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually. 

The solution

The restaurant has access to the data regarding the required ingredients, the popularity of particular dishes, and multiple other information that can be used to reduce the food-wasting on the institutional level. 

A system like Ordering Stack stores the information about orders and purchases in a single data warehouse, available in an actionable way. Having the information enclosed in this way enables the company to harvest insights in a more comprehensive way. By that, the company can make more informed purchases, avoid overstocking and not only save on excess food but also save the planet from food-wasting effects. 

Digital menu

The paper-printed menu can be considered the key element of any traditional restaurant or cafe, including the premium ones as well as fast foods. 

This leads to producing a huge amount of trash every day. The menus get torn, dirty, or just need to be replaced with more accurate or fresh ones. Depending on the paper the menu has been printed on, it can be easier or harder to recycle – usually the more visually appealing, the harder to recycle. 

Also, in fast-food restaurants, it is popular to deliver a highly visible menu with proper lighting and good exposition. This way of delivering the menu to the customers is not only ineffective – it is also power-consuming. 

The United Nations data clearly shows that the world electricity demand is rising rapidly. The total electricity consumption has risen from 11,970.8 terawatt-hours in 1990 to 26,626.1 terawatt-hours in 2018. Most of this growth is powered by thermal generation by burning the fossil fuels like gas, coal, and oil, further boosting greenhouse gas emissions. 

The solution

In the mobile era, the significance of the printed menu is decreasing in favor of the availability of the menu in other, more convenient ways. The company can deliver it in the mobile app, on the displays and kiosks, or on the website. The traditional, in-house menu can be replaced by QR-codes to be scanned with the smartphone. 

This can significantly reduce both the waste generated by the constant printing of the menus, the costs of printing them, and the environmental costs of the menus and exposing them alike. 

More sustainable foods promoted 

The menus are the key tool of promotion for restaurants. By that, they need to be composed in a certain way to boost the sales and drive the revenue. On the other hand, though, this leaves less place to promote new foods, with the more sustainable offer being significantly disadvantaged in this setup. 

The solution

With the digital menu, the restaurant owner has more tools to promote the company’s offerings, including the sustainable versions of the dishes. While the traditional menu offers only a headline and static graphics, software like Ordering Stack can deliver an interactive menu with popups, time-limited offers, and cross-selling options that can not only boost revenue but also build the awareness of the more eco-friendly food offered by the company. 

According to Statista, the share of consumers interested in sustainable food is growing, with 20% of US consumers thinking about sustainable food production, 59% interested in fair seafood production, and 41% very interested in sustainable meat production, 

Total customization – further waste reduction

The pandemic has delivered multiple changes, with the boost to online ordering during lockdowns. The online food delivery market has risen by 10% in 2021, reaching $151.5 B in revenue and 1.6B users annually worldwide.  

The change has been dramatic, especially for restaurants that have not built their digital channels before. From the environmental point of view, another problem has arisen – the packaging. 

According to the Eurostat data, there was an estimated 177.4 kg of packaging waste generated per EU inhabitant in 2019 (the latest data available). The need to pack the food ordered online highly increases the demand for packages, as well as additional appliances added to the order, like napkins or plastic forks. 

But not all time

The solution

Modern ordering systems like Ordering Stack provide the user with the possibility to configure the order in multiple ways. This can include not only the food itself and ingredients but also all the purchase, including the appliances mentioned above. 

Using the app, the customer can ask to not include plastic forks and napkins, ask to pack the meal on paper or configure order in multiple other ways. In certain situations, this can enable the user to bring his or her own reusable packages and get fresh food in them. The possibilities are in fact limited by the owner’s imagination only. 

Summary

The environmental trends shown above are not only good for the planet but also bring significant savings for the company. This shows that changing the business to make it more fitting to the new reality can be a good investment – for the business and the planet alike. Check the features of Ordering Stack .

If you wish to talk more about the ways the Ordering Stack can help to build a more sustainable and eco-friendly restaurant, don’t hesitate to contact us now!

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