From main ingredients for the entree to the wine suggested for the dining experience, restaurant owners have the power to source sustainable options for their business.

While recent sustainability trends have been about seafood in restaurants like Toronto’s Just Sushi, the world’s first 100 per cent sustainable sushi restaurant — winemakers from California’s Sonoma County are aiming to become the first 100 per cent sustainable wine region.

Making operational decisions based on energy efficiency and orders based on sustainability give your business a green image that is appetizing to an increasing number of diners. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, 43 per cent of diners say they are willing to pay up to 10 per cent more for a meal in a sustainable restaurant.

Offer sustainable menu items

While every restaurant may not be able to achieve the 100 per cent sustainable status like Just Sushi, folks can certainly look to businesses who can to modify what they’re doing to up their energy efficiency and sustainable status.

For example, Just Sushi has opted for Bullfrog Power, offers delivery on e-bikes and instead of Styrofoam, went with compostable take-out containers. Through Ocean Wise’s Sustainability program, they serve delicious traditional Japanese fish and have juices on the beverage menu have local organic Ontario juices provided by Treehugger. 

Include sustainable beverages at your bar

Sonoma County has been known for their wineries that have been leading on sustainability — in fact, they’re striving to achieve the status of being 100 per cent sustainable for the wine region.

They have a five-year plan to hit their big goal. With 1,800 businesses represented by Sonoma County Winegrowers, they’re optimistic and have a sustainable wine plan that’s looking great and green.

They have a strategy to team up with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Code of Sustainability. Sonoma County’s planned achievement certainly looks attainable — and for more details about their plan, check this out.

Consider local breweries for your daught beer and cocktails using sustainable ingredients.

Promote the green image

Train your servers so they can spread the word directly to guests about what your business does as a responsible and sustainable restaurant; have table talkers, menu inserts and signs. It’s important to get your green image out there as it promotes the idea of sustainability and can educate people less in the know.

Most importantly, be proud of achieving a green image. Folks who follow through on sustainability initiatives are being energy-efficient, enjoying cost-savings and contributing to a better environment — these are great examples of doing good!

Our partners at LEAF have talked about consumers who care about green images — their article can be found here.

Otherwise, we have incentives and an Energy Audit tool to help your business.


Image credit: AnneMGherini