Thoughts on a zero waste ethos

We all know that reducing waste is the right thing to do. Here are some of the ways that minimizing waste can help to support the success of your business: 

Food waste is a costly practice. According to a report by NPR, one half pound of food for every restaurant guest served, on average, is discarded. As much as ten percent of food purchased by restaurants ends up in the landfill. This is obviously a huge waste of resources, with negative environmental impact. This is also a significant blow to a restaurant’s bottom line. We have decided that our next restaurant will be built with a zero-waste ethos from the ground up. With some careful planning and a solution-based attitude we plan on creating systems that result in a win-win.

Regarding food waste, careful ordering can greatly reduce the amount of product that is left unused. In addition, creative menu planning and using every part of the plant adds value where many would just see waste. This idea of “root to shoot” cooking is something Davin has been practicing for decades, and it is a wonderful way to diversify taste and increase profit. Popular examples include beet stem relish, carrot top pesto, and banana peel taco filling. Tangerine peels can be used to create a tasty vinaigrette, and the pulp can be fermented into a tangerine koshu. Any plant parts that cannot be repurposed, as well as post-consumer food scraps, will be composted by one of several local contractors.

            In addition to food, we will take care to reduce the use of all disposables, even those that can be recycled. Keg beer, sake, and wine are economical and eliminate the need for bottles. They also help to reduce loss associated with product waste. Similarly, locally crafted tap sodas and cold brew coffee will be a great compliment to our menu preparations. We will work with our vendors to avoid delivery with packing materials that cannot be recycled and reused.

            This commitment might present challenges but as systems are created will yield many benefits. We will have a lower cost of food by leaving very little wasted product. We will have a unique branding position as a restaurant that has chosen to “opt out” of waste. As we have experienced at our current restaurants, we will have additional buy-in from our team as they feel proud to work for a conscientious company.