Sustainability—avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance—has acquired increasing attention since the modern environmental movement started in the 1970s. Sustainability isn’t just good for the Earth, it’s good for business: more than 90% of CEOs believe that sustainability is important to the success of their company—and restaurants are no exception. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry report, 3 out of 4 restaurant operators said that customers are more interested in environmentally-sustainable menu items than they were two years ago.
Consumers today care about more than just the food; they want to support brands that align with their values. Pizza restaurants must keep up with these evolving consumer demands to keep their customers satisfied and coming back. Here’s how you can improve your sustainability and run a green restaurant.
1. Use Locally-Sourced Ingredients
Locally-sourced food is grown or produced within a short distance of where it is consumed. Customers are increasingly conscious of its desirability: 58% of millennials said that they were more likely to choose one restaurant over another based on its ability to provide food that has been sustainably grown, raised, and manufactured.
Locally-sourced food has several benefits:
- Fresher Ingredients
Locally-sourced food spends less time in transit from plant to plate. The quicker turnaround time means fewer preservatives are used. Customers want to feel that they are eating fresher and healthier, and especially that they are giving better quality food to their kids. Increasingly, customers are willing to pay more for this benefit.
Going local also means less food waste. Since you can get ingredients quickly when you need them, you won’t have to overstock in fear that you won’t get another shipment in time. You reduce spoilage, and the customers enjoy freshness.
- Lower Costs
Shorter transit times mean reduced food transportation costs. This reduction not only saves you money, but also cuts down on fuel consumption and air pollution—creating a greener restaurant with a lower carbon footprint.
- Support Your Community
Supporting local farmers and suppliers shows that you value your community. Businesses and consumers in your neighborhood will notice, and this support can be huge for boosting brand loyalty.
2. Leverage Technology to Eliminate Paper Usage
Another excellent way to boost sustainability is to take advantage of pizza restaurant technology that can help you to send less paper to the landfills.
- Kitchen Display System (KDS)
With a KDS, orders get sent electronically to the kitchen, eliminating the need for paper order slips. Not only does this system reduce your waste, but you also save on the cost of printing supplies, like paper, ink, printers, and maintenance. In addition to the paper reduction, a KDS can reduce order errors, which are a huge cause of food waste for restaurants.
- Tablet Point of Sale (POS)
To maximize your efficiency and sustainability efforts, leverage a tablet POS to take customer orders right at the table. Like the KDS, tablets eliminate the need for paper order slips; instead, servers just enter the order right on the device, and it goes to the KDS automatically.
- Emailed Receipts
In addition to order slips, restaurants generate more than 1.5 billion pounds of paper waste each year on paper receipts alone. Restaurants should look for a pizza POS system that allows the option for emailed receipts to further cut down on their paper waste.
3. Improve Your Pizzeria Inventory Management System
Besides reducing paper waste, you can also cut down on food waste through more effective inventory management. Again, your POS solution can be a great asset in this restaurant sustainability effort.
- Smarter Inventory Purchasing
If you’re constantly running out of ingredients or throwing away excess food that has expired, your inventory management may need a makeover. Today’s technology allows you to gain more insight into your inventory to find the patterns and trends you may not be noticing.
Figuring out the ideal inventory purchasing amounts will save you money and greatly decrease your food waste. A POS system integrated with an inventory management software can accurately track your inventory in real time across all selling platforms and locations to help you make better predictions.
- Strategic Planning
Even the smartest systems get it wrong at times because the restaurant industry can be unpredictable. If you find yourself with excess food, think strategically before tossing it out.
For example, maybe you have extra mushrooms that are going to go bad in a week. Instead of throwing them out, promote your mushroom or veggie pizza as the pizza of the week, and add a free drink or small discount to encourage more orders. Using your POS, add this menu item to the top of your online ordering menu to get even more exposure and increase sales. By prioritizing food items that may expire soon, you’re maximizing your food costs and preventing waste.
If you have multiple locations, different stores may have different levels of ingredients—one store needs to use up mushrooms, while another has excess bacon. A good POS will have the flexibility to promote different things at each location with easy menu customization.
Go Green and Save Green
Restaurant sustainability efforts will contribute to your overall pizzeria profitability. Not only can you save on costs by reducing food and paper waste and your dependence upon transportation and supplies, but you can also increase your sales by growing your brand loyalty with customers who share these same values and environmental concerns.
Remember to advertise your sustainability activities so your customers are aware. They may even choose you on that basis, so use your website, mobile app, and social media to highlight the ways you’re working on becoming a greener restaurant.
To learn about the pizzeria technology solutions that can help jumpstart your restaurant sustainability efforts and provide many other operational advantages, contact HungerRush—a leading provider of industry-specific innovations. Request a demo and see how our solutions will work for you.