For most restaurateurs, the idea of going green usually comes with the preconceived notion of expense. With razor thin division between making a profit and being in the red, expense is the driving force behind decisions for many foodservice operators. There is often trepidation upon embarking on any new project, including sustainability, coming from the concern that a major investment of both money and time are required. The great news is that none of the above are necessarily true.

On the broad spectrum of sustainability, the degree to which an operator decides to implement changes largely determines the required investment. Many changes  are easy to implement, are low or no cost, and provide a quick return on investment.


While environmental sensitivity itself is a key driver for many operators, the business case for sustainability is calling to a whole other sector of the industry. Simple cost savings are a practical benefit that makes going green a wise decision for any foodservice operation.

Consider the savvy kitchen manager who weighs food scraps on the floor after a busy service to present the lost food cost to staff at the end of the night. Or who designs a menu that overlaps in ingredients to ensure no food goes to waste. It’s a logical step to reduce food waste and happens to have an environmental benefit. When it comes to sustainability, it is often rooted in good business sense.

Go Green, Go Smart
Photo by Gemma Evans


To understand the influence of sustainability on the bottom line, just look at the environmental footprint. Restaurants have the largest environmental footprint of any type of commercial building. Restaurants use 2.5 to 3 times as much energy per square foot as other commercial businesses. From the first lights on before opening until well after close, water and energy are constantly in use. The waste generated, primarily food derived, and recycling are associated with their own costs. When added together the picture becomes very clear: foodservice is an incredibly high carbon footprint endeavor that runs parallel with the cost of operating. This hard truth means that the more you ignore sustainability, the more you miss out on major savings. By simply taking a few small steps, the payoff can be considerable.


You can make many changes to create a more sustainable outcome. Big and small, these changes drive profitability, customer experience, staff engagement, and public perception about your brand. If your aim is to be a profitable establishment where customers enjoy eating and qualified staff wants to stay, then the benefits are apparent. The added benefit is knowing you have contributed to sustainability in an industry with such a major impact,. Sustainability is not just an environmental concept, it’s a fundamental business one.

Planet Earth First
Photo by Gem & Lauris – A Place for Creation


For many, the interest and desire to move towards sustainability is there, but often delayed due to lack of knowledge or time to research and implement. The RC Show 2018 is the perfect place to start. The Eco Pavilion will house all that’s new and innovative in the green foodservice industry, and a special presentation on the main stage will help you learn from others’ experiences. So what’s in it for you?


Bruce McAdams, professor and foodservice sustainability expert from the University of Guelph, will host a panel discussion on the business case for sustainability and outline how going green really is good for business. Bruce will talk to five LEAF-certified facilities about their experiences, challenges and successes on their journeys to operate more environmentally conscious restaurants.


You’ll leave with real world information and tips you can implement immediately to start saving money and reduce your environmental impact. The Eco Pavilion lets you talk one-on-one to experts about your goals, and get answers to your questions. Visit the LEAF table to get ideas and talk about how the LEAF program can benefit your business. NewSpring Energy will be there to answer questions about sustainability and the process of LEAF certification.



Stop by the Eco Pavilion and “Pledge to Win”! Attendees can make a green pledge such as “Go straw-free” or “Increase local purchasing” and be entered to win prizes from our exhibitors to help you on your sustainability journey.

See you at the #RCShow18 in February!


President of the Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice. L.E.A.F. is a National non profit organization helping those in the foodservice industry to realize their sustainability potential & recognizing them for doing so. For more information: www.leafme.org