Top 12 sustainability tips for the Restaurant Industry




Cook what's in season

  • Seasonal produce is fresher and full of nutrients! So it tastes better and is healthier.
  • It also gives you the opportunity to switch up the menu to keep things interesting for your customers and brings creativity and flexibility into the kitchen.


Partner with the right producers


Grow it yourself

  • Starting your own kitchen garden is an opportunity for chefs to learn about how ingredients grow - and gives the cooks a new appreciation for those items in their cooking.
  •  It also allows you to grow interesting foods and garnishes not easily found at producers


Buy locally & in bulk

  • Purchase peak-season produce in bulk (when it’s delicious and inexpensive) and find creative ways to use it, such as drying, freezing and preserving.


Think beyond the food: Sustainability goes beyond the menu.

  • Purchase better-quality, environmentally friendly, energy-efficient equipment to reduce the restaurant’s carbon emissions and energy bill. Find out if you are eligible for the Circular Economy Investment Fund here 
  • Design a space using reclaimed materials, i.e. wooden floors and upcycling those 
  • Think about things like water usage and train your staff to turn off the tap when it’s not in use. Visit Scottish Water for free educational resources 
  • Install lights with motion detectors in the hallways so they don’t stay on at all hours of the day 
  • Consider your wine list, too, and look for producers offering biodynamic, carbon-neutral and organic wines. 


Start small. Think about your goals and break them down into what’s achievable now versus what you’d like to achieve in the future.

  • Start by printing your menu on recycled paper—or feature it entirely online 
  • Use linen napkins instead of paper ones. 
  • Research creative ways to reduce your waste – for example, some vegetables can be turned into stock, flat prosecco can be turned into champagne sirup or champagne vinegar.


Manage your waste. General waste, or landfill, is the most expensive kind of waste for restaurants, so find every opportunity to reduce it.

  • Most food waste be composted. Find out how to get started here
  • Recycle glass and cardboard, and return packaging to your suppliers to be reused. 
  • Ask suppliers not to send anything in Styrofoam boxes. If you don’t have to get rid of the packaging, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and your recycling bill will be lower. 
  • If you offer takeout, consider compostable packaging options.


Do your homework 

  • Sustainable, ethical business operations require research when it comes to sourcing food, materials and equipment and dealing with waste—especially doing it cost effectively. 
  • Being aware of the choices you’re making is the first step. Asking producers about their products helps you make informed decisions.


Passionate Staff

  • Train your staff about the cause. There are many free climate literacy resources available   
  • Train staff about the ingredients used—animals, seafood, produce—so they can repeat those stories to customers.


Extend the mission to the community

  • Dundee offers many events every year which offer fantastic opportunities for themed specials. Annual events include for example Earth Hour, Clean Air Day, Climate Week and more. Get in touch to find out more.


Plan for the long haul

  • Is environmentally friendly energy efficient equipment more expensive? Yes. But good quality equipment will last longer and reduce operational costs in the long run.


Customer satisfaction

  • Offer enough information through staff education, your website, or even your menu, so guests can ask for more details about sourcing and sustainability if they want, without imposing on them.

Reducing food waste link
Audit your business's food waste, and learn how to manage food waste
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How to measure waste link
Includes monitoring and measuring your use of resources, as well as tracking raw materials and waste
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