In this award-winning column, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies looks at best practices, case studies and more on how to take the best ideas in green building and operations and apply it to your foodservice operation.
In theory, waste management seems like a pretty simple concept in the foodservice industry: make the most effective and efficient use of ingredients, labor and other resources to minimize what the operation tosses in the trash. What could be easier, right?
Sometimes it pays to invest in green. Take, for example, Reed College, which received a gold certificate in the City of Portland's Sustainability at Work program. Reed received the program's highest honor, in recognition of the college's energy-saving, waste-saving and local food-sourcing initiatives.
Purchasing energy-efficient equipment is a significant investment. Equipment maintenance along with operator training to avoid misuse and mistakes are two key steps operators must take to protect upfront costs and maximize return on investment.
Imagine being able to build a completely green restaurant from scratch with a decent budget and endless creative freedom. That's the dream executive chef Justin Johnson was presented with when the 90-bed Watertown Regional Medical Center in Watertown, Wis., decided to completely overhaul its 40-year-old cafeteria and kitchen.
The terms "C Corp" and "S Corp" tend to be pretty common in today's business discussions. Conversations about the B Corp, though, tend to be less common. B Corp certification is for businesses looking to demonstrate the bottom-line results of their environmental, social and financial sustainability efforts. Basically, achieving B Corp certification enables businesses to prove that they walk the talk when it comes to sustainability.
When it comes to food waste diversion from landfills, the landscape is changing dramatically, primarily due to state and municipal regulations, according to Andrew Shakman, president and CEO of LeanPath. We caught up with Shakman to hear his thoughts about how operators are engaging in waste diversion — and waste prevention too.
Although they have been around for a while, energy management systems (EMS) have been slow to catch on in the foodservice community. That may soon change, however, due to a growing number of restaurant chains exploring whether these efficiency tools can help reduce energy consumption.
Ris Lacoste, chef-owner of RIS, was excited to go through the REAL questionnaire to see how many points her restaurant could earn. "Over half of our menu comes from locally grown food at the height of the season, and I go to the farmer's market about two to three times per week," she says. "Outside of that, we work with a produce purveyor who also sources local product for us."
For the Guckenheimer cafés, the certification process was slightly different than the one for independent restaurants. "They have hundreds of recipes in their database, and in some cases where they have buffets, points for portion control may not be viable," Williams says. High-volume operations such as these also have different cooking preparation and equipment needs.
A Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization has sought to improve the culinary landscape as it pertains to health, nutrition and sustainability. Modeled after the industry-recognized, highly structured LEED certification process, the Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) program aims to recognize and reward restaurants that take steps toward not only saving natural resources, but also offering healthier food options and supporting local, sustainable producers.