Sustainability is on the menu for many QSRs

Sustainability continues to be at the top of consumer lists as they support their favourite businesses, and restaurants are no exception. Diners are looking for restaurants that are striving to lower their carbon footprints, and they’re even willing to pay up to 10 per cent more in those establishments.

What does sustainability look like to consumers? Studies show that diners consider environmentally friendly packaging and efficient food waste management to be a sign that a restaurant is going greener. To that end, some of the QSR chains are adopting practices to support these initiatives. For example, Starbucks has been testing a reusable cup program in 12 of their locations, where customers take their cups home with them. Once they’ve used the cup, they return it to the store to be scanned, dropping it into the contactless return bin for it to be professionally sanitized and reused.

Many restaurants have implemented programs to limit or relocate their food waste, like Subway, which has begun a composting program in some of its locations, and McDonald’s is striving to use 100 per cent renewable materials in their packaging by 2025. Similarly, Burger King has been experimenting with environmentally friendly packaging in more than 50 of their locations, a program that could lower their paper usage by 34 per cent, simply by shifting their new wraps for their Whopper sandwiches.

Many QSRs are also implementing EV charging at their locations, allowing guests to charge their electric vehicles during their visit. For example, Subway is planning to install smaller charging stations that provide a 120-mile charge in under 20 minutes, for a fee of $20. Taco Bell has also installed these chargers at more than 120 restaurants in California, and they are planning to expand this initiative.

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Customers are looking for tangible steps towards sustainability from their favourite restaurants, so it’s key to communicate those efforts to your restaurant guests. As sustainability continues to dominate diner preferences,  QSRs and restaurants who go greener may be able to save money over the long haul, while keeping their customers engaged and aligned with their business.