In addition to being the right thing to do for the environment, “going green” can also have financial benefits, something the nation’s nearly one million restaurant and foodservice outlets are increasingly exploring.
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,” said Donatone.
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 quickservice 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.
Among the thousands of products and services throughout the exhibit floor, there are many “green” options at this year’s NRA 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 at Restaurant.org.