I know we have all been made aware of the “greening” of the restaurant industry and society in general. I am also aware of all the excuses for not implementing any of the ideas; “It costs too much…”, “We’re too etc, etc… I know the excuses, because I, too, have used them. The truth of the matter, however, is that this is neither some passing fad, nor does it have to be a burden to you and your staff. Just a few new ideas, implemented as new standing procedures, will really begin to have a positive effect on your current costs. In the next few newsletters, we’ll easy ideas to start this very day, and let you know what our hospitality association is working on for state “green” certifications.
One of the fastest, easiest things to do is to stop using disposables for employee meals and drink. A few plastic cups that are washed at the end of the shift will save you hundreds of dollars at the end of the year; the McCutchen House switched to re-usable plates and cups from the Styrofoam, and our paper expenses have already dropped two to three hundred dollars a month! Now I understand that we have many more people going through our kitchens than almost all of you, but take notice of all the cups your employees are throwing away and to see what I mean; especially if they are also using disposable silverware and plates.
The obvious suggestions of turning off lights when not in use has been discussed ad nauseam, but remember that lighting costs can be saved in other ways: Slow night? Close off a section or banquet rooms and shut them down; replace old bulbs with energy efficient ones (they cost more but are changed less); only turn on necessary dining room lights for opening and clean-up—you don’t wipe down salt and pepper shakers! Outside signs may not need lit during the daytime-especially in the summer, exit signs should be LEDs, vending machine lights can be turned off, especially those in employee break rooms.
We’ve only touched the surface of we will continue to look at different procedures that are not only eco-friendly, but friendly to our bottom line as well. Remember, restaurants use 5 times more energy per square foot than commercial buildings; we need to become leaders not only in our industry, but role models for other industries as well.
-William Knapp; FMP, CEC, CCA, CHE, MIHTM