Green restaurant takeout packaging

9 tips for becoming an environmentally sustainable restaurant

Becoming an environmentally sustainable restaurant is more important than ever before, not only for the environment but also for your customers. Technomic reports that 79% of consumers prefer to dine at Certified Green Restaurants®. To support sustainability across the restaurant industry, Grubhub has partnered with the Green Restaurant Association to offer subsidized memberships exclusively for Grubhub restaurant partners. 

The Green Restaurant Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the restaurant industry shift toward ecological sustainability by encouraging restaurants to green their operations using transparent science-based certification standards.

With this exclusive offer, you are invited to join the Green Restaurant Association with Grubhub support, and will receive sustainability recommendations for your business. In addition, once certified, Grubhub restaurant partners will be assigned a dedicated sustainability and communications specialist by the Green Restaurant Association to assist with marketing efforts for interested restaurants.  

Certified Green Restaurants® have reported decreased overhead costs, increased their customer base and improved employee morale.

Being a green restaurant is more important than ever before, not only for the environment but also for your customers. To support sustainability across the restaurant industry, we have undertaken two new initiatives.

9 restaurant sustainability tips

Are you interested in becoming a Certified Green Restaurant®? Here are nine restaurant sustainability tips that you can start implementing today!

1. Switch to LED lighting and reduce your energy costs

The restaurant industry is the #1 consumer of electricity in the commercial sector. LED lighting is not only more environmentally friendly but can reduce your restaurant’s energy costs by up to 8%. 

2. Develop an easy-to-use recycling program in 5 easy steps

Implementing a restaurant recycling program does not need to be costly or complicated. Here are five easy steps you can take:

  1. Use engaging signage to help your employees and customers identify recyclable items.
  2. Make sure your recycling signage is bilingual to encourage all staff and customers to participate in your recycling program. 
  3. To ensure your recycling signs are easily visible, place them at eye level and near your recycling bins.
  4. Color-code your trash, compost, and recycling bins.
  5. Take an inventory of the products and packaging in your restaurant to determine if your local recycler can recycle them.

3. Install highest efficiency pre-rinse spray valves

Nearly every restaurant has pre-rinse spray valves in their kitchen. Many manufacturers have now developed new spray valve models that use under 1 gallon of water per minute (GPM) with some as low as .6 GPM. A restaurant can save hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars per year in water and natural gas costs just by making this simple change.  

4. Eliminate Unnecessary take-out packaging

According to the National Resources Defense Council, 300 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide each year, and half of that is used for single-use items such as plastic straws and cutlery. The Green Restaurant Association recommends training your staff to ask customers if they need utensils or partnering with a third-party delivery partner, like Grubhub, who offers customers the option to opt-out of cutlery. 

5. Increase more sustainable seafood on your menu

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch provides a great list of “green” seafood to buy and “red” seafood to avoid. Making the right seafood choices not only ensures you can continue serving it for the years ahead, but it also appeals to the increasingly educated consumer base who care about the health of our oceans.

6. Use green disposables for your take-out orders

Choosing green disposables for your take-out packaging can have a significant impact on the environment. Check out the video below from the Green Restaurant Association to learn how to select the greenest disposable for your restaurant. 

7. Offer vegan menu options

Offering vegan menu options is not only good for the environment but also for reaching more customers. According to Grubhub’s 2021 “State of the Plate Report ” plant-based takes on takeout classics grew exponentially year-over-year. In fact, plant-based sausage wraps grew in popularity by a staggering 549% since 2020. 

8. Save energy by choosing Energy Star Equipment

Energy Star products use less energy than standard products. They are required to meet the strict energy efficiency criteria by the US Environmental Protection Agency or the US Department of Energy. To learn more about Energy Star products, please visit the official government website. 

9. Evaluate your sustainability practices

It’s essential to understand your restaurant’s sustainability baseline. To help, The Green Restaurant Association has created this free tool to help you determine how green your restaurant is. 

Ready to become a Certified Green Restaurant®?

At Grubhub, we understand we all have a responsibility to protect our planet, and every little step we take can make a difference. That is why we have partnered with the Green Restaurant Association to subsidize the cost to become a Certified Green Restaurant®, exclusive to Grubhub restaurant partners. 

Current Grubhub restaurant partners interested in becoming Certified Green Restaurant® can sign up by clicking here.  

Not a current Grubhub restaurant partner but interested in joining? Sign up today, and your first 60 days are free!