As eco-friendly practices take center stage at a growing number of restaurant businesses, Todd Mann, senior vice president of business development for the National Restaurant Association , and his group spend more time advising operators about what they can do to help the environment and operate more efficiently at the same time.
Can any operation really be totally green? Is it economically feasible?
I think there’s a cost there as there is with anything new, but as time progresses the cost of implementing those measures will come down. When that happens you’ll see more and more companies engaging in some of the things that are more expensive. I don’t know how important it is for every company to be 100-percent green, but it’s important to take steps wherever we can.
What are some ways to lower an operation’s carbon footprint?
Don’t turn on the lights in the front-of-the-house until you’re ready to open. And let’s not start the dishwasher until there is a full load. Also look at faucets and sprays that are more economical in terms of water use.
What is the biggest misconception operators have about going green?
That they can’t have an impact or that they would have to change everything in order to have an impact. It’s true with anything you think is something monstrously large. You’re reluctant to tackle [the project]. But if it is smaller and more manageable, it seems doable. In truth, you can implement a lot of things and keep operating profitably while impacting the environment you live in.