The recent Future Shock Report published by UKHospitality/CGA confirms that while the hospitality sector is working hard to promote sustainability, there’s room for improvement.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls explains: “Sustainability is arguably the key issue of our time. It will become more important and hospitality needs to lead efforts to promote sustainability yet further.”

But what does a sustainable restaurant look like? Well, it’s more about the features that can’t be seen; the restaurant’s commitment to promotion of sustainable solutions in areas it impacts upon such as the environment, food sourcing and society.

The recent report states customers expect businesses to engage in at leas one of four key areas:

  1. Ethically sourced food
  2. Environmentally friendly packaging
  3. Reduced carbon footprint
  4. Donations to social, ethical or green causes

There’s no shortage o ways in which restaurants can be more ‘green’, from installing energy efficient appliances, through to growing herbs on the dining room wall.

Conscience aside, there are also financial benefits of keeping check on your environmental credentials. Not only will a green menu bring more diners and happier diners, profitability could also increase. Café St Honoré in Edinburgh, for example, reduced meat use by 10-20%, and profitability on meat dishes rose by 20%.

However, to reap the rewards of your silent sustainability efforts there’ one last step – tell the world you’re helping to save the world! Use marketing and social media, and consider associations and accreditations too. Eve Michelin have unveiled a green clover icon in France to highlight restaurants that promote sustainability. In the UK, there’s The Sustainable Restaurant Association and the Carbon Free Dining initiative.