On April 22, 1970, over 20 million Americans joined together and took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive rallies across the country. This marked the very first Earth Day—an annual celebration of sustainability. On this day, Americans bring health of the Earth to the forefront of their minds with environmentally-friendly practices to help preserve the planet.
Nearly 50 years later, consumers are more focused on sustainability than ever before. According to Forbes, 88 percent of consumers will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues. For restaurants, it’s crucial to tap into what consumers are looking for: environmentally-minded businesses that care about the long-term effects of unsustainable practices on the planet.
In honor of Earth Day, your restaurant has an opportunity to put the planet first and provide a few options for customers to join in on the Earth-friendly fun.
7 Earth Day Restaurant Promotion Ideas
1. Offer discounts on low-impact meals
Create special dishes for Earth Day made up of eco-friendly foods that don’t require synthetic fertilizers, bioengineering, or conventional pesticides. Here are a few ingredients to consider:
- Beans have a long shelf life, which means reduced food waste
- Broccoli naturally produces compounds related to a class of industrial pesticides, meaning that they require no excess chemicals to keep pests away.
- Potatoes require a minimal amount of water for growth and have a low burden on the environment.
2. Go plastic-free for a weekend—or forever
If you haven’t already made the leap to eliminate non-reusable products in your restaurant, Earth Day is a great time to start. Do away with one-time-use styrofoam containers and consider a recyclable or reusable product that won’t immediately get tossed in the trash.
3. Encourage customers to bring their own to-go containers
Advertise a waste-free weekend by encouraging your customers to bring their own to-go containers for leftovers. For customers that bring their own, offer a small discount to reward them for this Earth-friendly behavior.
4. Start a recycling program for customers
A common Earth Day promotion for businesses is to offer a recycling promotion to customers. Offer a discounted meal or a free drink to customers who bring in their old electronics and take care of the recycling process for them. They’ll appreciate the service and the thought.
5. Create a special Earth Day hashtag
Encourage your customers to get social by creating a unique Earth Day hashtag. If customers share their meal on Instagram, use your hashtag, and tag your restaurant, offer a discounted appetizer or dessert.
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6. Throw an Earth Day festival
If you’re lucky, your business is located in a tight-knit community of sustainability-minded people. Celebrating the Earth with a festival is a great way to bring your city together. Earth Day falls on a Monday, so reserve the weekend before to throw an event that focuses on sustainability.
7. Support local farmers
If you don’t always source your produce from local farmers, Earth Day is an excellent opportunity to shine some light on the hardworking farmers in your community. Highlighting local farmers with special dishes will show your customers that you care. Share the news of this partnership on social media to alert your customers that you’re showing your farmers some love.
How to Practice Sustainability in Your Restaurant
If you’re wondering how you can make an impact on the planet year-round, there are a few ways to start showing your customers that you care about a sustainable environment.
- Reduce food waste: The first step to becoming a more environmentally-friendly restaurant is to take a look at your food waste. An average restaurant wastes between 25,000 and 75,000 pounds of food every year. A smart inventory management tool can help you take a deep dive into food waste and help you cut down on how much food is wasted in your restaurant.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances: The foodservice industry uses $10 billion in energy every year. By purchasing appliances donned with the “Energy Star” logo, you can start conserving energy without impacting your BOH team’s performance.
- Go green when you clean: Traditional cleaning products aren’t the best for the environment. Ditch the harsh chemicals and promote clean air by switching to eco-friendly brands that reduce pollution.
- Source local produce: One of the simplest ways to practice sustainability is to source your produce locally. Start small by sourcing just a few ingredients from local farmers. Cutting down on the number of products you have shipped from farms across the country will cut down on carbon emissions.
- Consider composting: Take a step towards becoming an environmentally-friendly restaurant by composting food waste. Simply buy an extra trash can and at the end of the shift, dump it in an outdoor compost bin or partner with a local farm to provide a sustainable fertilizer.
Going green doesn’t happen immediately. By taking small steps that have a positive impact on the planet, your restaurant can leave an Earth-friendly footprint and attract consumers that have sustainability at top of mind!