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Why restaurants care about their carbon footprint

Written by
Poppy Stringer
min read
January 16, 2023

Previously restaurants could drive business based solely on their menu but in recent years there has been a positive shift among consumers where they place more value in carbon conscious businesses. This means that restaurants who refuse to make sustainable switches are falling behind their competitors who are. Sustainability is no longer a trend but an inherent part of most businesses, particularly hospitality and the restaurant industry, but why is this?

Here are 5 reasons why restaurants now focus on their carbon footprint:

  1. To reduce their environmental impact: The restaurant industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with food transportation and food waste being two of the biggest contributors.  According to the United Nations the food sector accounts for 30% of the world's total energy consumption and around 22% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Food in the UK is estimated to travel 30 billion kilometers by ship, train and road each year which produces 19 million tonnes of CO2 annually which has a detrimental effect on our planet.By reducing their carbon footprint, restaurants can help to mitigate the negative environmental impact of their operations.
  1. To meet customer demand: According to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, 70% of customers say that it is important for restaurants to offer environmentally responsible menu options. A UK hospitality survey found that 80% of respondents said sustainability was a deciding factor when choosing where to eat out and according to Food Navigator 43% of people are willing to pay more for sustainably sourced food.  By focusing on their carbon footprint, restaurants can better meet the demands of environmentally conscious customers.
  1. To save money: Implementing sustainability practices, such as reducing food waste and energy consumption, can help restaurants save money on operating costs. For example, the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that the average restaurant can save up to $40,000 per year by reducing food waste.
  1. To improve their reputation: By prioritizing sustainability, restaurants can improve their reputation and attract more customers who are willing to pay a premium for environmentally responsible products and services. According to a Food Navigator survey 68% of consumers said restaurants should have processes in place to reduce waste and 56% said they would like restaurants to share how they are working to make themselves more sustainable. Restaurants that are more “human” and more transparent that align more closely with sustainability will drive up customer satisfaction scores, improve reputation and create repeat customers.
  1. ‍To comply with regulations: Many cities and states have implemented regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the restaurant industry, such as requiring restaurants to recycle and compost food waste. The UK’s environment bill passed in November of 2021 committed to eliminating food waste from landfill by 2030. Therefore, under the new measures coming into force in 2023, those in the hospitality sector not already doing so, will be required to separate their food wastage from their general waste and have it collected separately. This means that food can no longer be disposed of to sewers or via macerators and changes have to be made within some kitchens. By focusing on their carbon footprint, restaurants can ensure that they are compliant with these regulations.

SKOOT Eco Dining offers a solution to any restaurants who are looking to become more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint. Our restaurant solution enables restaurants to automatically plant trees to offset purchases made in the restaurant.

Poppy Stringer

Our eco-conscious blog writer. Passionate about sustainability, she's on a mission to combat ecosystem decline with insightful blogs, driven by her concern for the planet's future.