Sustainability In Focus: Casual Dining

Last updated: 25th May 2022

The casual dining sector is experiencing a period of unprecedented challenge, with many high street favourites battling to survive. Already under pressure from the long-term decrease in town centre footfall and staff shortages following Brexit, it’s not surprising that so many restaurants, pubs and bars have struggled to withstand the devastating effects of the pandemic.

An industry with good reason to change

COVID and online retail aside, the hospitality industry has a big problem: an awkwardly large carbon footprint that is at odds with an increasingly environmentally aware customer base. Commercial kitchens often use ten times the energy of commercial buildings; and it’s hard for an industry that throws away 18% of the food it purchases to claim sustainability. 

Demand for change is becoming ever clearer from customers

According to the Zero Carbon Forum, 71% of 16-40 year olds believe climate change is the number one challenge facing their generation and 72% believe large companies have the greatest responsibility for addressing the problem.

The message from this and other consumer surveys is clear and consistent: consumers prefer to go to restaurants that demonstrate their environmental credentials and that green is a value for which they are happy to pay more.

Industry best practice doesn’t go far enough

There’s no doubt that the hospitality sector is starting to wake up to the opportunity. Recently, Pizza Hut Restaurants, Pizza Express and The Restaurant Group and Nando’s established the Zero Carbon Forum – the first attempt by the industry to come together to accelerate progress on sustainability. While this is a ground-breaking collaborative effort, the fact is that such efforts are not readily apparent to consumers and nor do they deliver the kind of change that customers now want or, worse, have been promised. 

N.B. The information contained in this entry is provided by the above supplier, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie