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  • Bosco Ferrao

Sustainability; Moving Our F&B Business in The Right Direction.

Twenty-five years ago, most chefs wrote menus according to what they liked to cook and what they knew guests would like to eat. Few people considered the seasonality of items or the consequences of importing ingredients from across the globe.In my research with these leaders, I have learned that changing restaurant operations to be more sustainable is a process and an evolution, and your team must be committed to make it work. Here are 11 things you can do to get started.

1. Cook what’s in season

You’ve heard it before, but the number one thing you can do to make your restaurant more sustainable is to keep your menu seasonal. Some restaurants change their menus monthly so they can serve the freshest possible produce at its peak. Just imagine when fish or squid are in a period of regrowth, for example, one can use smoked salmon. Operating this way requires a certain amount of flexibility and creativity on the part of the kitchen staff, but the quality is well worth the effort.


2. Partner with the right producers


Just as consumers are interested in knowing the source of their meat and fish, they can identify and learn about the specific farms that grow their vegetables. “For me, it’s my core value: utilizing people who are still caring about what they do,” “We’re not a number, we’re a person.” Work with organic farming operators…Working with small farms is more work for an operator, requiring multiple phone calls and visits. But the payoff is huge: “You don’t have to do as much with beautiful products. A little sea salt and olive oil go a long way in showcasing ingredients at their best.


3. Grow it yourself


Start your own kitchen garden for the restaurants and hire a gardener to tend it. This is an opportunity for chefs to learn about how ingredients grow—carrots, cabbage, beets, broad beans—and give the cooks a new appreciation for those items in their cooking.


They are challenged to every bit of what they grow, and the food waste they do have can now go back into the garden as compost. Yes it’s not all possible for some restaurant with space.. but its wort the way to move forward.


4. Buy locally, in bulk

Sources as much possible products locally as possibly one can. Local suppliers will come because they get the opportunity to show case and sell their products. Sometimes it’s worth to purchases peak-season produce in bulk (when it’s delicious and inexpensive) and finds creative ways to use it, such as drying, freezing and preserving.


“My advises to all food establishments in India and around places” limiting the items on the menu so that you’re wasting less. “If you can manage your menu and stock rotation and embrace the seasons when things are cheaper, that is my fundamental must-do.”


5. Think beyond the food.


Sustainability doesn’t stop with your menu. Purchasing better-quality, energy-efficient equipment. “It gives the restaurant a certain warmth; it’s not polished. It has a welcoming feel, and people really seem to be enjoying that.”

Think about things like water usage and train your staff to turn off the tap when it’s not in use, install motion-sensitive lights in the hallways so they don’t stay on at all hours of the day, and challenge your employees to reduce usage by just a little bit—five to 10%—every month. Consider your wine list, too, and look for producers offering biodynamic, carbon-neutral and organic wines. Including these products on your list is a great way to start conversations with guests about your philosophy and what you stand for.


6. Start small


I always say Don’t try to run before you walk. Think about your goals and break them down into what’s achievable now versus what you’d like to achieve in the future. Make a road map, but understand that it could be years before you can make the changes you’d like to make from a business standpoint.

Start by printing your menu on recycled paper and using linen napkins instead of paper ones. Research creative ways to reduce your waste and find out what it will cost you to invest in energy-efficient equipment. Even if you’re not there now, you can set yourself up for success by getting your staff on board and creating the ethos and infrastructure you need to move forward. As awareness grows, new sustainable business opportunities are constantly

entering the landscape. In the beginning, simple things like bottled waste and cardboard waste were the focus, and now sustainability is the general ethos.


7. Manage your waste—all of it


General waste, or landfill, is the most expensive kind of waste for restaurants, so find every opportunity to reduce it. Food waste can be weighed, measured and go to compost so you know it’s being utilized elsewhere (or it can go right back into the garden).

Recycle glass and cardboard, and return packaging to your suppliers to be reused. If you don’t have to get rid of the packaging, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and your recycling bill will be lower.



When choosing takeout and delivery containers, consider the environment impact of the packaging as opt for compostable materials.


8. Do your homework


Sustainable, ethical business operations require a significant amount of research when it comes to sourcing food, materials and equipment and dealing with waste—especially when you do it in a cost-effective manner.

Asking for as much information as possible about the products you buy and the producers who make them. Being aware of the choices you’re making is the first step.


From there, look for opportunities to minimize any cost increases that sustainable practices may bring.



9. Train your staff to be passionate about the cause.


What has been the biggest challenges in evolving our operations to be more sustainable?

staff training.” Off Course I have mentioned this in many of my blogs staff training goes a long way….Even if you believe in your mission, it’s not always easy to get the rest of your team on board. If a chef has been doing something one way for 15 years, he won’t necessarily change his habits overnight—he really has to buy into it.


You need that one person within your organization who really believes in the cause, and you need to be able to educate your staff to make it work. And remember that the best way to get information to guests is through your staff, especially the front of house.

Conduct staff training about the ingredients they use—animals, seafood, produce—so they can repeat those stories to customers. If a guest asks why there’s no squid on the menu today, your staff can explain how you plan your menu around seasonality and sustainability first.


10. Plan for the long haul


Is it more expensive to buy energy-efficient equipment than the standard stuff? In a word, yes—but you have to think long term to see the full value.

“If you buy a cheap item, you’ll be replacing it very quickly, so you look at your depreciation over a three-year period,”

“If it’s a better product, it’s better made and has a better warranty on it. You may pay an extra 30% on that item, but it will depreciate over five or six years.”


11. Prioritise customer satisfaction above everything else


While it’s important for your staff to be able to communicate your restaurant’s mission and vision, your first priority as a restaurateur should always be delivering an exceptional guest experience. Offer enough information through staff education, your website, or even your menu, so guests can ask for more details about sourcing and sustainability if they want them, but don’t shove the message down their throats.

“You want it to be a great restaurant,”. “This experience is not an excuse. Customers walk in there and all they see is a great-looking restaurant with good service and good food. You want people to go, that was great because it’s a great restaurant, and all this lovely stuff is very close behind.”




“Don’t give up” my biggest advises to this new generation and the past. “Even if you can’t do it perfectly, Whatever effort you put in is a beautiful act of love for Mother Nature. I try not to be too hard on myself.

When I’m 60 I want to look at the guy in the mirror and say I did my best — did things that helped the environment and helped people consider their choices around food.”


Remember the next time you plan to start your Food Business do contact www.ferraoandassociates.com



Image Credits : Unsplash.com

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