Let’s face it: we’d all like to be able to install a complete ENERGY STAR-qualified kitchen, and a dining room complete with reclaimed materials and LED lights. But, realistically, full-blown energy efficiency retrofits simply aren’t feasible for most small- to medium-sized restaurants.

That’s why small changes—like the kinds that are outlined in this great post from Caterer and Hotelkeeper—can be so important.

In the post, author Emily Manson talks to a variety of foodservice pros in the UK and gets 12 tips: a small change a month.

They’re not just the standard LED lights/sustainable menu planning/kitchen gardens suggestions, either, although those are in there.

Other suggestions include:

  • Doing away with tablecloths, saving water, energy and laundry costs. Having an easily wipe-able (but still attractive) placement or tabletop will help maintain a glamorous ambience, without the environmental impact.
  • Communicate goals, objectives and policies with everyone: staff, stakeholders and patrons. Becoming more sustainable can be a community-builder.
  • Displace some of the water in your toilet tank to save water. Add an inch or so of sand or gravel to a couple of plastic bottles and submerge them in your toilet tank. This will cut down the water that’s used when flushing—just make sure there’s about 3 gallons or so in the tank.
  • Try and reduce orders as much as possible. Choose suppliers who can deliver a wide variety of items to cut down on truck trips, or find delivery companies that use hybrid or biodiesel vehicles.

Do you have any unexpected ways to improve restaurant sustainability? Share your suggestions in the comment section.

Image credit: heatheronhertravels