Why sustainable restaurants are the future of hospitality

The UK has set ambitious net-zero targets and there is increasing pressure on businesses to act. Below, we explore why restaurants need to embrace sustainability.
Jamie Frew
Dec 2023
4 min read

People are increasingly adopting more sustainable lifestyles.

Research by Deloitte shows Gen Z is leading the way, with 50% reporting to have reduced how much they buy and 45% have stopped purchasing from certain brands because of ethical or sustainability concerns.

With increasing pressure from the ‘sustainability generation’ and the worsening climate crisis, hospitality businesses need to prioritise sustainable and ethical practices.

Why sustainability in the restaurant industry is important

Important to the planet

In the UK, 75% of carbon emissions are from businesses, and hospitality is one of the biggest emitting sectors.

Research by WRAP revealed the hospitality sector produces 2.87 million tonnes of waste every year. 2.87 million tonnes!

Public awareness of the impact of food waste has on climate change is less common than other environmental factors, but global food waste produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all commercial flights. It’s essential that restaurant owners work with governments and NGOs to reduce the devastating impact.

Important to customers

A UK hospitality survey found that 83% of respondents expect hospitality brands to take part in sustainable practices. And 80% said that sustainability was a deciding factor when choosing where to go for food.

This statistic is likely to increase as awareness around climate change and its devastating impacts is also increasing, especially amongst Generation Z.

Sustainable restaurants are therefore not a ‘nice-to-have’, but a necessity for satisfying customers now and in the future.

Important to team members

As awareness around the climate crisis increases, many are considering how their work contributes to the environment.

If you run a sustainable restaurant with a strong social conscience, you might attract and retain more team members who align with your values. This gives your business a significant advantage during the current staffing shortage crisis.

Let’s take a look at more advantages of running a green restaurant.

Benefits of sustainable restaurants

  • Improve customer satisfaction
    Customer satisfaction now extends beyond good food and excellent service, people want to feel like their experience has positively impacted the planet.
  • Make savings
    Minimising waste and energy usage is not only good for the environment, it helps cut operating costs too.
  • Improve brand loyalty
    If your restaurant’s values align with your customers they are more likely to feel connected to your brand. And they might just come back for seconds.
  • Employee engagement
    Having a social conscience can help boost staff motivation, and improve retention. Team members will feel proud to work for a company that contributes positively to the planet and society. And you will reap the benefits of an engaged workforce.

Final thoughts

The pandemic may have slowed down the sustainability momentum, but as restaurants rebuild their businesses, sustainability is back on the agenda. And the businesses that act now are the ones that will not only survive the current crises, but also thrive in the future.

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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