It should come as no surprise that restaurants use a lot of energy. From the first employees arriving to prepare for the day to the last staff members cleaning at the end of the night, these businesses often function almost 24 hours a day. Most restaurants operate are in leased space so adding solar panels or making major changes to temperature control systems may be out of the question. However, smaller steps can be taken to minimize the use of energy, water, and other resources by examining how the operation functions and modifying procedures to reduce waste.
Some front-of-house cost-saving and environmentally-friendly initiatives include:
- Serve beverages in smaller glasses and offer refills to guests who want more
- Wait to turn on lights and TVs in dining areas until just before opening
- Provide water to diners only by request
- Package take-out order in recyclable or compostable containers
- Use china, silverware, and cloth napkins for dine-in guests rather than disposable items
- Provide menu to guests in a digital format so new copies don't need to be printed as offerings and prices change
- Utilize a mobile POS system so servers can input orders into a personal device rather than writing on paper
When determining the layout of a restaurant careful consideration should be made to serving guests with physical disabilities. During initial construction or renovation, efforts should be made to minimize steps and ensure unobstructed, level paths to all guest spaces. In addition, tables with wheelchair seating options should be included in the layout. Of course, all of this is regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its subsequent revisions. In addition to accommodating guests with physical disabilities, consideration should be given to serving guests with other disabilities. Guests with hearing impairment may need assistance communicating with staff to place their orders. Guests with visual impairments may need to see a large print menu or have it presented in an alternate format such as Braille or through a screen reader on a mobile device. These and other accommodations should be considered when establishing restaurant procedures and training staff. It may be impossible to prepare your staff to handle any guest need they may encounter. Teach employees to listen to the guest's needs and empower them to take action or involve management as appropriate.
Learn more in our Assistive Technology section.
Diversity & Inclusion
The restaurant industry is one that employs and serves individuals from all walks of life. Regardless of the background of staff or customers, it is critical that restaurants provide quality service to all of their guests. Guests of any gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. should feel welcome in any dining establishment. Managers should implement inclusion policies and diversity training in their operation. Employees should understand the importance of providing a welcoming, inclusive environment for their coworkers and customers alike.
Learn more in our Gender Issues section.