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6 easy ways to boost sustainability

busy restaurant kitchen

Sustainability. Zero waste. Environmentally friendly.

These are more than buzz words. Following through on these good-for-the-Earth claims is actually smart business, because for many consumers, sustainability is a business driver.

Forty percent of all consumers (up from 32% in 2014) believe items labeled “sustainable” are healthier than items that are not, according to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report. And some consumers are willing to pay more for items called out as sustainable and otherwise socially responsible, the report found.

Here are a few ways operators can boost sustainability efforts both front and back of house.

Zero-waste kitchens

Nearly every foodservice trend report for 2017 listed zero-waste kitchens as an industry-wide goal. Chefs are getting creative with stem-to-skin produce preparation and whole-animal cookery that employs meat trim in a variety of dishes. Food preservation continues to be a popular way for operators to differentiate.

Many food manufacturers are moving toward pouch-based packaging for condiments, toppings and more. Dispensing pumps from Server, for example, connect directly with these pouches. The pumps can evacuate 98% of a product from a pouch, according to factory testing. That’s about 20% more than typically dispensed from a No. 10 can, jug or other vessel, according to Brent Henschel, marketing-communications specialist for Server.

“It’s an Earth-friendly way of packaging,” Henschel says. “It’s also a high-yield discharge.”

Plus, pouch-based products take up less storage space than bulkier containers, have significantly less packaging waste and usually have less expensive shipping costs.

Employee training

Another way to boost in-house sustainability is through employee education. Teach workers to respect ingredients and eliminate food waste. Show them proper procedures for recycling and composting and the right way to get remaining product out of a storage pouch to maximize yield.

Ray and Carrie Stelzer, co-owners of the Scoop DeVille ice cream shop in Hartford, Wisc., have used Server dispensers since opening their shop 7 years ago. They use multiple Server dispensers for ice-cream toppings in-house and have others for catering use.

The machines dispense hot fudge and other toppings neatly and with minimal waste, the Stelzers say.

“When we use a ladle, we have hot fudge all over the counter,” Carrie Stelzer says. “Everything here is consistent.”

Waste-reducing, portion-controlled food dispensers are one way to increase sustainability efforts at your operation. Here are some other tips to boost environmental awareness:

  • Train BOH to go zero-waste by asking them to keep a record of all wasted product
  • Highlight your sustainability efforts via social media and through in-house signage, if possible, to engage environmentally minded consumers
  • Educate all staff with food-purchasing responsibilities about choosing sustainable options
  • Work with sustainably focused suppliers

This post is sponsored by Server

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