For the past 4 years, the New York State Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Green Hospitality Initiative (GHI), through 3 EPA funded grants, has been a leading force in supporting restaurants to become greener while becoming more profitable. One of our main goals has been to have restaurant operators understand that adopting green strategies can make good financial sense while positively impacting the environment, their customers and staff. During this period, the GHI has provided free individual and group green trainings to over 350 restaurants, focusing on very practical and cost efficient ways to save on energy and water usage and drastically cutting back on hazardous and toxic cleaning and pest control chemicals while increasing a restaurant’s bottom line. We have partnered with Con Ed and NYSERDA to support restaurants getting rebates and incentives for their green efforts. We’ve demonstrated the effectiveness of our methods through several case studies including ones with Havana Central and Aqua Grill where thousands of dollars were saved each year through green steps the owners took. The GHI has also introduced a range of innovative cost effective green technology that we believe will eventually revolutionize how restaurants are run. As former restaurant operators, we understand the enormous pressure and responsibility that that impact the food service industry. That is why we design the free trainings and surveys so that operators can easily see the benefits of greening their operation and then help them through the process of adopting the recommendations with as little imposition on their daily operations as possible. We also offer onsite individual trainings for operators who cannot attend our group trainings.
The GHI has resources available online which includes a free downloadable extensive manual of a wide range of green initiatives a restaurant can take with resources to support them. The website also includes articles from all over the country on the green hospitality movement and a fact sheet of some simple basic steps any restaurant can implement to begin the process. The GHI has developed a very strong network of green suppliers and organizations who are willing to support the project. They have become an invaluable resource for restaurant operators looking to adapt a variety of green options such as eco-friendly disposables, green friendly pest control and converting used oil into fuel.
Since inception, the GHI has been committed to moving the restaurant industry towards a critical mass of change where greening becomes an integral way the food service business operates. It is also clear that government initiatives (such as new composting and polystyrene ban laws) are also driving the industry towards this goal and the GHI wants to help operators become proactive with this trend. Given the 24/7 nature of the restaurant business and its extensive use of resources, the opportunity to positively impact our environment through greening is greater than in any other retail business. Furthermore, we believe that, increasingly, our restaurant customers are demanding that our business operations become more responsible to the environment. We feel that this philosophy along with cost effective green strategies that help operators become more profitable is the best way to support our industry going forward.
For further information or to sign up for a free green training, please email Alan Someck or call him @ 516.448.1504.