Green Restaurant Blog


Success Strategies for Local Food Procurement

Communities across the country are creating innovative and effective ways to procure locally produced foods – schools, hospitals, food banks, and other institutions are partnering with farmers, distributors, and community organizations to bring more local food to community members' plates. (Full Article)

Energy Efficiency in Food Service Businesses

When you are the owner or manager of a food service business, using less energy for day-to-day operations becomes an important consideration. Food service businesses use almost two-and-a-half times more energy than other businesses. Concerns about sustainability and climate change have helped to turn the focus toward energy efficiency in all businesses, especially food service. Using energy more efficiently and reducing waste for your food service operations can cut down overhead costs, reduce the carbon footprint of your operations, and increase your bottom line. (Full Article)

Follow the Water: Ice Machine Service Tips

Many restaurant or other food service businesses use water. Large commercial dishwashers, ice machines, and soft serve machines come immediately to mind. With any sort of open system that uses water, leaks and other problems will develop over time and must be repaired. Here's a closer look at ice machine troubleshooting, but many of the same principles apply to other appliances. (Full Article)

The rise of composting as an end-of-use solution

Across the U.S., we continue to see a growth in the availability of composting infrastructure, as well as a growing interest in compostable products and packaging. A July 2014 Biocycle article highlights this trend, and makes a clear connection to the larger benefits: "The beauty of composting is that it can be small-scale, large-scale and everything in between," says Brenda Platt. "Why send resources out of the community when our neighborhoods need food and our soils are starved for organic matter?" (Full Article)

Restaurants balance sustainability with supply, cost issues

The Humane Society of the United States not only has an easier time securing a meeting with restaurant CEOs today than it did a decade ago; it needs less time to educate executives about why they're there. "Ten years ago, a lot of food companies we met with hadn't heard of animal welfare issues before," said Josh Balk, senior food policy director for the Humane Society of the United States. "Now, virtually every restaurant company knows about key animal welfare issues. And most are working with us." (Full Article)

TECH TIPS: Maintainin' Your Cool

If you've ever had a piece of refrigeration go down, you know it's no fun. The service call, parts and labor are just the tip of the not-so-cold iceberg. Lost time, disrupted kitchen access and interrupted flow add up—not to mention lost inventory. Whether you're talking about reach-ins, prep tables or undercounters, most refrigeration failures can be traced directly to neglect of routine and minimal attention. "The cause is lack of maintenance, mainly," says Mitch Byrne, president of Northeast Cooling headquartered in Round Lake, Ill. Byrne estimates, "Eighty percent of operators do nothing, no maintenance, ever. Maybe 20% do some, but not enough." He adds that some operators receive routine quarterly maintenance, and they have virtually no breakdowns. (Full Article)

New Device Saves Energy from Going Down the Drain

A Florida company, Catalyst Energy, has developed an energy conservation device to recycle the heat energy in waste water from commercial dishwashers. Energy Saver (Patent Pending) will recycle over 75% of the waste heat energy back into the incoming water. "Energy Saver fixes two universal problems that have been overlooked for many years" said the President of Catalyst Energy, William Glass, "first, the system quickly pays for itself in reduced energy consumption and second, it can eliminate the need to introduce potable water to temper the exiting hot effluent water, thereby saving both energy and drinking water. It is a smart controller driven system so the energy savings is maximized." (Full Article)

National Restaurant Association Announces the 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award Winners

The National Restaurant Association today announced the recipients of the 2015 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards, which honor equipment and technologies that increase productivity for back of the house operations and benefit restaurant operators.(Full Article)

Are You Waiting for Your HVAC Equipment to Fail?

We talk to many facility managers – and in our case these are managers responsible for tens if not hundreds of small facilities – who lament their official corporate policy of "run to fail," or replacing HVAC equipment only when it breaks. This approach appears to have become the rule rather than the exception in the past few years.(Full Article)

EPA approves more climate-friendly refrigerants for A/C and refrigeration

As part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is increasing the options for refrigerants used in various kinds of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment in the United States that offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer. This final action addresses refrigerants under the Climate Action Plan that calls on EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program to identify and approve additional climate-friendly chemicals. (Full Article)

3 easy and inexpensive ways to save water

You can't run your restaurant without water. You use it to cook meals; clean dishes, floors and equipment. You serve it to thirsty customers and wash hands — many times over. But the cost of water is rising quickly, and that's taking a bite out of restaurants' operating budgets.(Full Article)

4 Ways to Address Food Waste

At restaurants, reducing food waste often is a big challenge, but one that must be addressed particularly as operators grapple with high food costs. Here are some ways operators can address the issue in financially and environmentally responsible ways: Consistency is key: Incorporate waste management best practices into your employee training to ensure sustainable success. Because employees often come and go, participation in waste diversion/prevention programs can be difficult to adhere to. However, if it becomes part of how things are done from the beginning, consistency will be accomplished more successfully.(Full Article)

Tuna Industry Failing on Sustainability

The United States consumes more canned tuna than any other country in the world, and ranks in the top three seafood species eaten here. As a cheap source of protein, families all over the country have relied on canned tuna for decades. Unfortunately, most people don't realize the damage many of America's "trusted tuna brands" are doing to our oceans. Some are even failing to ensure ethical issues that plague the industry are addressed, like human rights abuses at sea.(Full Article)

U.S. Announces Plan to Combat Illegal Fishing

The Obama administration has announced a plan to crack down on the multibillion-dollar global black market in seafood, an effort that would try to trace a fish's story from where it was caught to how it was shipped.(Full Article)

It's easy being green

Michael Jones finds out how an innovative food waste management solution helped reduce Liberty Island's carbon footprint and deal with Lady Liberty's leftovers. Lady Liberty goes by a number of names. Modelled on Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, her full title is Liberty Enlightening the World. To the French, she's La Liberté éclairant le monde. To the rest of the world she's simply The Statue of Liberty.(Full Article)

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