Need some inspiration?
Chef Rick Bayless founded the non-profit Frontera Farmers Foundation to provide small capital improvement grants to local family farms. In so doing, he not only helped foster a system of local agriculture (ensuring a steady supply of top-quality fresh produce for his famous Chicago-based restaurants), he also brought the idea of sustainability to an entire community. “We’re a green-certified restaurant,” he says, “and have a LEED certified build-out at one of our restaurants.” “We take it all very seriously. For me, all of those things are an expression of who we think we are as a restaurant.” For more information, visit: rickbayless.com.
Ted Turner (yes, that Ted Turner) invested $111,000 on a system-wide switch to LED lighting in his popular Ted’s Montana Grill. The payoff? He saved $140,000 on electricity bills in the first year alone, and $250,000 in the second year. “Everything we do [at Ted’s strives to] do good for the industry,” he says. “It’s fun and exciting and something we can be proud of.” For more information, visit tedsmontanagrill.com, where you can download a pdf detailing the entire TMG sustainability story from its inception in 2002.
As you develop your own restaurant’s sustainability profile, keep in mind the National Restaurant Association’s Four Keys to Food Sustainability:
- Embrace the local community and its flavors.
- Do not overuse certain food sources, like seafood.
- Be socially responsible, but be profitable.
- Choose one topic/theme a year and stick with it; these are complex and challenging issues.
For more info, please visit: conserve.restaurant.org