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Restaurants taking eco-friendly steps

A look at how and why more operators are going green

Green practices are taking root in the restaurant industry, as more operators seek to cut costs and appeal to eco-conscious customers.

A special series by Nation's Restaurant News examined the motivation, challenges and strategies behind the steps restaurateurs have taken to make their businesses more environmentally friendly.

Major operators lead the charge

Green efforts have so far been undertaken by some of the industry's high-profile players, including Darden Restaurants' move to incorporate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, building standards, and Chipotle Mexican Grill's plans to install solar panels on close to 75 restaurants. Read more.

How to find the right green strategy

A variety of operators, from independents to major chains, are interested in going green, and experts advise them to first find the right green strategy for their unique business and budget. For many restaurateurs, that might mean starting small, such as installing more energy-efficient light bulbs and fixing leaky faucets. Operators with bigger aspirations should keep their brand identities in mind when a developing a green strategy. Read more.

Small changes can yield big results

While green initiatives can require both time and money, many operators see a speedy return on their investment in the form of cost savings, improved employee morale and increased customer traffic. Read more.

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