Improving sustainability at your venue

As we begin to look forward to venues reopening in the coming months, it’s important to remember not to let any prior hard work go to waste when it comes to improving sustainability. 

The coronavirus pandemic has led to many individuals considering their impact on the environment. People have been driving less, and of course the rise of remote working has perhaps demonstrated a “new normal” in which large offices and corporations may no longer be needed. 

The priority is, of course, getting the hospitality industry back on its feet. But we must do that in a sustainable way. Now’s the perfect chance to reconsider your venue’s operations and how you can implement new sustainable features in order to satisfy your consumers’ expectations. 88% of consumers prefer brands to help them lead a more environmentally friendly and ethical life – so now’s your chance. 

How to go green

One small example of improving sustainability is the use of plastic glasses. Whilst restaurants and bars have been working to eliminate single-use plastic, the rise of takeaway options and prioritising outdoor seating has led to an increase in the number of venues reconsidering plastic cups. Look at environmentally friendly alternatives, sourcing recyclable or compostable plastic instead. While running a delivery or takeaway service, many hospitality businesses have been charging customers a nominal additional fee for environmentally-friendly packaging. This puts the choice in the hands of your eco-friendly customers, meaning you won’t be left out of pocket for more expensive cups or packaging. 

You may be considering working with new suppliers and revising your drinks list as things start to open up again. Seek out sustainable craft breweries, which purchase materials from local sources, minimise water use, reduce waste and use sustainable packaging such as cans rather than beer bottles. You could also stock sustainable, organic wine from local businesses. Research shows consumers are happy to pay more for sustainable beer, so make sure you highlight which beers are environmentally friendly in order to justify the higher price tag. 

Manage your waste

According to the British Hospitality Association, the average bar loses around £8,000 each year on food and drink waste. At a time when saving money and minimising loss is more important than ever, it’s time to consider changing things up. Review how much you typically throw away, and ensure this waste is managed effectively so recyclable waste is separated out. 

Be aware of stockpiling, too. Don’t over order, as this will inevitably lead to wastage. Be careful how you manage any perishable products – always use older items first to minimise waste and ensure produce is labelled so all members of staff know what’s most in-date. Be smart about the way you serve up your drinks, too. If you can use syrups instead of perishable garnishes then you should do so. Use garnishes sensibly so you’re using them across a range of drinks rather than having to order in lots of ingredients (and therefore throwing lots of ingredients away if you don’t get round to using them!) Bartenders and cocktail masters should consider planning drinks menus out months in advance to reflect seasonality of local ingredients. Trust us, eco-conscious customers will notice the effort and will be prepared to pay more for it. 

Minimise water use by considering installing tap flow regulators, push taps and flush control systems. You’ll save money and water every time you run a tap or flush the toilet. You can also conserve energy by installing energy-saving controls to manage equipment such as coolers when your venue is closed. 

“Sustainable” doesn’t just refer to the environment 

You must also consider your staff. Ensure working conditions, such as working hours, are sustainable. The way your team works should be efficient in order to save time and ensure maximum productivity. For example, make sure your team works to a detailed rota or checklist to ensure you’re ready and prepped for service on time. You could also try training your team to work one and a half customers at a time (such as taking an order from a second customer as they’re finishing off drinks for the first). 

Train your team to be mindful of wastage, too. Spilt drinks, wrong orders, poorly produced drinks, bad stock management. They’re all examples of day-to-day mistakes that could cost your business money. Make sure your staff are on your team and understand why it’s so important to up your eco-friendly game. 

All that said, working efficiently should never compromise the safety or wellbeing of your team. An exhausted employee will never perform their best. 

Our night-time industry wellbeing pack contains further expert insight into how to look after your people.

Are you ready to reopen?

We are all preparing to gear up towards “the new normal”. Now’s the time to start reviewing your venue’s processes and sustainable measures. Yes, it will be helpful for the environment and lead us towards a greener future. But it will also help your business become more profitable. By improving sustainability, you often save money. Plus, with customers demonstrating greater loyalty towards sustainable businesses, you can entice even more customers to visit your venue. 

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