As the restaurant industry’s interest in environmental sustainability continues to grow, the National Restaurant Association has released a new report highlighting the steps restaurant and foodservice operators are taking.

Our State of Restaurant Sustainability focuses on the latest environmental trends and practices for the restaurant industry as well as consumer insights. The goal is to help all operators learn about what others are doing to become more sustainable.


“The National Restaurant Association is committed to increasing awareness across our industry about environmental issues, trends and best practices. Our goal is to educate our members on steps restaurateurs are taking to conserve resources, minimize waste and communicate their efforts to consumers. This new report is one way to help them understand and implement sustainability practices at their own operations.”

Laura Abshire
Director, sustainability policy, National Restaurant Association


The Association surveyed more than 500 restaurant owners and operators about their sustainability practices and challenges. In addition, over 1,000 consumers were surveyed on the best ways restaurants could communicate their sustainability initiatives to guests.

Some key takeaways:

  • Energy efficiency and use of energy-saving equipment are common. About eight in 10 restaurant operators use energy-efficient lighting, while six in 10 use programmable heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) thermostats. More than four in 10 use Energy Star®-rated refrigerators, freezers and icemakers.
  • More operators are reducing their food waste. About half of the restaurant operators surveyed said they track the amount of food waste their restaurants generate. About one in five said they donate their prepared, unused food to charities.
  • Use of water-saving equipment is growing. Low-flush toilets are in use at about half of restaurant operations. More than one in four restaurants are using other innovations, such as high-efficiency, pre-rinse spray valves and faucet aerators.

Get the full report.