Leading restaurant chains outside the United States are taking steps to incorporate more sustainable practices into their operations.
And while these measures can often fly under the radar, recent initiatives from the likes of Burger King and Costa Coffee show that sustainability can serve as a marketing vehicle on its own.
Click through for three recent examples of how operators are embracing and promoting sustainability efforts …
1. Burger King drops kids’ toys in South Africa
When Burger King South Africa nixed plastic toys in favor of an augmented reality game for its kids meals last December, it said it did so in part to be more environmentally friendly. As part of the initiative, in place of traditional kids meals toys, children can now download a proprietary Defend the King game app and play in-store after scanning a special marker.
“Moving away from toys is an initiative from Burger King to cut down on plastic that will end up in a landfill by finding a solution that is kinder to the environment,” marketing executive Ezelna Jones said, per RNEWS.
Burger King is also touting the AR game as a way to engage with digitally savvy younger guests.
2. Costa Coffee offers discounts for cup reuse—competitor cups included—in the U.K.
The U.K.’s leading coffee chain has put its sustainability efforts front and center in a new campaign that invites customers to bring in any coffee cup—including those from the competing brands—for a discount on coffee. As with many operators, Costa Coffee offers a modest discount to guests who bring in their own cup for a coffee to promote recycling and waste reduction.
The new twist of allowing guests to use competitor cups for the discount stands on its own as a marketing vehicle for the brand, while at the same time underscores its ongoing sustainability efforts. In conjunction with the reusable cup offer, Costa is also now recycling any paper takeaway cup used at or brought to any of its 2,000-plus stores in the U.K.
Costa is promoting the initiative in a lighthearted manner on social media. “We now recycle ANY paper takeaway cup (yes, even ones from those other brands you’d never dream of visiting!),” it wrote in a recent Facebook post.
3. McDonald’s to offer organic salads in Brazil
In what operator Arcos Dorados bills as a first for Brazil’s fast-food industry, McDonald’s plans to offer organic produce in its salads beginning this year. Arcos Dorados says that the move is the latest in a series of sustainability efforts from McDonald’s, and will help to strengthen family farms in Brazil.
Organic ingredients are expected to roll out initially at units in Sao Paulo and eventually to restaurants across the country as supply becomes available.
McDonald’s other sustainability initiatives in Brazil include the use of LED lighting in all new-build restaurants; commitments to use sustainably sourced meats; and a water reuse program.