Becoming a greener restaurant in just two steps

Food waste reduction tipsDo you want to become an eco-responsible restaurant but don’t know what measures to put in place without interfering with your work?

This article gives some basic steps to follow for implementing a greener approach in your restaurant in an easy and logical way.

Aim for zero waste

Ecology is an important issue for most Swiss people. At a time when approximately 2.8 million tonnes of food waste are produced each year in Switzerland, restaurateurs can no longer turn a blind eye. But how can you take care of the ecological situation without losing your turnover? Here are some tips on how to get involved.

No more plastic

Easier said than done! Plastic is the main material for packaging, so it’s hard to avoid as a restaurateur. However, it is possible to reduce its use by adopting some new measures. Apart from recycling as the number one method for an eco-friendly restaurant, you can also buy in bulk to avoid packaging. You buy the quantities you want using your own packaging (cloth bags, glass jars, etc.). Think of using glass rather than plastic for bottles or to store food. Give priority to glass boxes rather than plastic film.

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The doggy bag principle is in vogue, but most dishes are taken away in plastic packaging. Change the codes by offering recyclable packaging. To go further, it is possible to offer reusable glass packaging using the deposit principle. This avoids waste and keeps the customer coming back, leading to customer loyalty.

An anti-paper restaurant?

After plastic, let’s tackle paper! There is a wide range of methods to reduce or even eliminate it. No more paper tablecloths and napkins, opt for fabric – it’s more eco-friendly and will cost you less.

No more receipts or paper menus. The slate menu works very well and has a traditional feel to it. For a modern touch, there are many software programs that allow you to consult the menu or pay the bill online. Thanks to a simple QR code placed on the table, all you have to do is scan it and everything is available to the customer on their phone. These new technologies avoid paper and save you time! Twenty Pay is the ideal application to start this process: invoice by email, online menu, online bill… No more paper left behind!

The alarming figures for food waste

Food waste is surely the priority for a restaurant that wants to be more responsible. Indeed, 10% of a restaurant’s raw materials are thrown away every day. This figure is surprising and alarming. To reduce this waste, each restaurant owner can act in his or her own way. Here are some simple ideas to get involved.

As mentioned above, doggy bags are in vogue but most customers don’t think about them. At the end of the meal, offer them to take away what they have not finished, or even the remains of the bottle of wine.

At the end of the service there are always leftovers that you can’t keep until the next day. Don’t throw them away! You have several options: donate them to associations for example or offer discounts on these products to your customers.

Finally, use all your food in recipes. Peelings, carcass, stale bread… everything is good to recover if you know how.

Written by

Mahé Rillardon

Niels Costard

First published on EHL

Tags: Anti-paper, carbon neutral, eco-friendly, Food and Beverage, food waste, restaurant, sustainability



EHL Hospitality Business School, founded in 1893 as Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, is renowned as a center of excellence for service-focused industries. Learn more at

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