Nat’l Restaurant Show Recap: Focus on Greener Operations
Every year a few key themes emerge at National Restaurant Show despite the massive scale of the event.
While “green” topics have been featured for several years, this was the first year that the discussion in Chicago evolved from a product-centered conversation (compostable disposables, organic foods, etc.) to focus on green operations. The reality is that the things we buy and use in a foodservice operation make a big environmental difference, but “how” we run our operation matches or exceeds that impact.
Every day managers, chefs and staff members make thousands of small decisions that add up to large environmental and economic consequences: when to turn on the ovens, when to turn off the water, how to avoid overproduction of prepared foods, etc. The Conserve Solutions Center provided a venue for these important discussions with excellent educational sessions on a broad range of topics from water to energy to waste.
I presented three sessions on food waste (ABC’s of Food Waste Management, Food Waste Tracking: What You Need to Know, and Emerging Trends in Foodservice Waste Management). In each of these I stressed the critical importance of waste prevention and minimization, an area that often gets overlooked as people focus on more tangible efforts such as composting. I was excited to see my message go to a wider audience on the NRA Show Blog.
The key “green” takeaway from this year’s show: The industry now realizes that the future of “green” restaurants and foodservice will rest largely with chefs and managers choosing to incorporate new operating practices that make a real difference. This means there will be an industry need for more knowledge, education, training, motivation, measurement & assessment tools to drive improvements.