Going Green: Restaurants

Green

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A RESTAURANT “GOING GREEN”? MANY ARE THESE DAYS. FOR ALMOST 20 YEARS NOW THE “GREEN RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION” HAS CONSULTED RESTAURANT OWNERS ON HOW TO REDUCE AND RE-USE. JOEL FOX TALKED WITH THE GROUP’S FOUNDER IN DALLAS THIS WEEK FOR TONIGHT’S “CONCHO VALLEY GREEN”. << AT THE TEXAS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION CONVENTION IN DALLAS, A HANDFUL OF EXHIBITORS WERE PROMOTING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PRODUCTS, LIKE THESE BIO-DEGRADABLE TRAYS AND PLATES. BUT THIS YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME AT A T-R-A EXPO, THE GREEN RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION HAD A BOOTH. Michael Oshman/GRA Founder — You can run your business in a way that makes money, makes employees happier, attracts consumers, and helps to stay ahead of legislation, all while having a low environment impact. MICHAEL OSHMAN FOUNDED THE BOSTON-BASED NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION IN 1990. HE ADMITS GOING GREEN IS EASIER NOW THAN IT WAS BACK THEN. Oshman — From the equipment, to the chemicals, to the packaging, to the building, all the way to various options for food, so now it’s easier for us to help restaurants than it was 20 years ago. APPROPRIATELY, THE BACKDROP TO THE GREEN RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION’S DISPLAY BOOTH IS MADE OF RECYCLED MATERIAL — PLASTIC MILK JUGS TO BE SPECIFIC. AND IT’S LIT UP WITH L-E-D LIGHTING, WHICH GENERATES LESS HEAT AND USES LESS ENERGY THAN CONVENTIONAL LIGHTING. Joel — 19 YEARS AGO WHEN THIS ORGANIZATION WAS FORMED, THE QUESTION FOR MANY PEOPLE ABOUT GOING GREEN WAS, “WHAT IS THAT?” NOW THE QUESTION FROM MANY RESTAURANT OPERATORS IS, “HOW DO WE DO IT?” THE GREEN RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION OPERATES AS A CONSULTING FIRM. FOR A FEE THEY’LL ANALYZE WHAT A RESTAURANT IS DOING NOW, AND HOW IT CAN BE DONE “GREENER.” OSHMAN SAYS THERE’S NO COOKIE-CUTTER APPROACH FOR RESTAURANTS TO BECOME MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY. Oshman — Every restaurant is different. Some restaurants are recycling, so we’re not going to recommend that to them because they’re doing that well already. Vegetarian restaurants, we’re not going to tell them the wonders of eating low on the food chain. They’ve done that already BUT HE SAYS ULTIMATELY, CUSTOMERS WILL APPRECIATE THE EFFORT, AND MORE THAN LIKELY THE RESTAURANT WILL SAVE MONEY. Oshman — The reason is, if we’re helping you to reduce your energy and your water bills by 10, 20, or 30 percent, you’re going to save money. JOEL FOX, K-L-S-T NEWS. >> YOU CAN GET MORE INFORMATION ON THE GREEN RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION AT www.dinegreen.com

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