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NRA expert: Sustainability efforts can help restaurants cut costs

NRA expert: Sustainability efforts can help restaurants cut costs

<p><em>This is part of NRN&rsquo;s special coverage of the 2016 NRA Show, being held in Chicago, May 21-24. Visit <a href=""></a> for the latest coverage from the show, plus follow us on <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p>

Sustainability initiatives can not only help restaurants save natural resources, but they can also help operators save money, a National Restaurant Association expert says.

Laura Abshire, NRA director of sustainability policy and government affairs, said the 2016 NRA Show saw a number of innovations aimed at making restaurants, especially in kitchen equipment, greener.

“Sustainability can be a great way to save costs in your restaurant,” Abshire said in an interview at the show in Chicago. “One of the things we are seeing a lot is the tracking of inventory — the food coming in and going out of your restaurant.”


Technologies to track food inventory can save operators “sometimes 2 to 6 percent on your food costs,” she said.

In the NRA’s 2016 survey of top table-service menu trends, environmental sustainability was No. 6 among operators’ trend rankings. “Locally sourced meats and seafood” was No. 1, and “locally grown produce” was No. 3 in the survey.

recycled paper container

Technology is also helping restaurateurs get a handle on energy and water costs by using both more efficiently, she said. 

“If you can get your energy bills down and your water bills down — there are a lot of technologies out there to help you do that — you can really save on your bottom line,” Abshire said.

Additionally, 2016 NRA Show vendors displayed a large number of products, especially service ware like cups and plates, made from recycled paper.

The NRA offers low-cost ideas for restaurants in sustainability through its ConServe program.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

TAGS: Supply Chain
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