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National Restaurant Association - State of Restaurant Sustainability

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Restaurants of all types are conserving resources, reducing waste and connecting with environmentally aware guests. How do they do it?

We surveyed restaurant owners and operators about their environmental efforts and sustainability challenges. We also surveyed consumers about how restaurants could best promote sustainability practices to guests.

Download the report

Read the news release


Highlights of the report

Energy-saving equipment and practices are common

  • Eight in 10 restaurant operators use energy-efficient lighting.
  • Six in 10 use programmable thermostats.
  • More than four in 10 use Energy Star-rated refrigerators, freezers and icemakers.
  • Six in 10 restaurant kitchens use start-up/shut-down schedules to reduce the energy drain of kitchen equipment.

Reducing food waste is emerging as a key activity for operators

  • About half of restaurant operators track the amount of food waste their restaurant generates.
  • One in five donate edible leftovers to charities.
  • More than one in ten compost food waste.

Many operators source packaging and supplies made from materials with a smaller environmental footprint

  • Seventy-two percent of operators buy some packaging and supplies that contain recyclable material.
  • Fifty-six percent buy supplies certified as compostable.

A restaurant's sustainability effort can influence guests' restaurant choices

  • About half of consumers say that a restaurant's efforts to recycle, donate food or reduce food waste can be factors in where they choose to dine.
  • The best way to promote restaurant sustainability efforts is on the menu.

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