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NRA Show to Highlight How Sustainability is Good for Business

The 2009 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show® (May 16-19 at McCormick Place in Chicago) will provide attendees with both inspiration and concrete tools to increase sustainability efforts, which in turn can save on operating costs, increase productivity, motivate staff and attract eco-conscious diners.

"Saving money and cutting costs are crucial aspects of running a business in this current economic environment, and ‘going green’ can accomplish both, while also being the socially responsible thing to do," said Lorna Donatone, convention chair for NRA Show 2009 and president, school services, at Sodexo Inc. "We recognize the numerous opportunities in this area, and are presenting them to attendees at this year’s NRA Show. There is a lot of information out there for busy restaurateurs to sort through, so we focused a series of our more than 65 free education sessions on sustainability to help address the discussion.”

National Restaurant Association research shows that environmentally sustainable practices are important to today’s consumers. Forty-four percent say they are likely to make a restaurant choice based on a restaurant’s efforts to conserve energy and water, and six out of 10 say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers food that was grown in an organic or environmentally friendly way.

When it comes to restaurants, they are steadily increasing their environmental efforts: 27 percent of quick service operators, 43 percent of family dining operators, 45 percent of casual dining operators and 50 percent of fine dining operators say they will devote more resources to “green” initiatives this year compared to last year.

The Association created a special series of education sessions at NRA Show 2009 for attendees looking for information and tips on how to make their operations "greener" and integrate the products and services they find on the exhibit floor. Sessions, which promise lessons for distributors, as well, include:

Join the Green Restaurant Revolution - Monday, May 18, 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.  Business mogul, environmentalist and philanthropist Ted Turner and George McKerrow, co-founders of Ted's Montana Grill, will hold a candid discussion about their top-down initiative creating a green and sustainable restaurant chain. This session will be moderated by Chris Koetke, dean of The School of Culinary Arts, Kendall College.

Building Green: SUBWAY’s Eco-Store - Saturday, May 16, 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Hear the results of SUBWAY’s Eco-Store test model from Brad Davis, equipment manager, IPC SUBWAY, and Tina Fitzgerald, director of produce and social responsibility, IPC SUBWAY. This session will be moderated by Jeffrey Clark, consultant to US EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.

Save Water, Save Money - Sunday, May 17, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. This session will provide an overview of all the ways you can immediately lower water utility bills through conservation, presented by Don Fisher of Fisher-Nickel Inc. and Food Service Technology Center, and Jeffrey Clark, ICF International and the EPA's WaterSense program. Christopher Moyer, manager of National Restaurant Association Conserve: Solutions for Sustainability, will moderate the session and provide an overview of how the Association’s initiative.

The Brand Impact of Going Green - Monday, May 18, 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.  Discover the real impact going green can have on your profitability. Moderated by Rudy Miick, FCSI, Miick & Associates, this panel will include: Kathleen Seelye, FFCSI, LEEDS, managing partner, Ricca Newmark Design, and Jeff Harvey, president and ceo, Burgerville. Presented in cooperation with Foodservice Consultants Society International.

For full session descriptions and a complete schedule of the NRA Show 2009’s more than 65 free education sessions providing a variety of solutions, visit the Show Web site at www.restaurant.org/show.

Looking to expand your selection of “green” SKUs? There will also be thousands of products and services on display at the show. Several of the Kitchen Innovations Award recipients have eco-conscious features, and the Organics & Natural Pavilion will feature sustainable food and beverage options. Other “green” products can be found by searching the online listings of such products on www.restaurant.org/show.

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