As the world slowly begins to reopen, restaurant owners find themselves facing new pressure points that the post-pandemic era has unwittingly created. Some of these obstacles are expected to affect restaurant owners long after things have fully returned to normal. Much like COVID-19, concerns revolving around safety, staffing, and sanitation are here to stay. Though many restaurants are cutting costs in various areas, we have found that sustainability is key in addressing these issues and helping restaurants persevere through these new uncharted waters.
Safety and Sanitation
Restaurants are now expected to meet stringent COVID-19 guidelines. These new protocols involve multiple cleaning steps and training to reduce risk to staff and customers. Disposal of food waste has higher risks, especially if it must be handled multiple times and is a potential biohazard. Food waste is typically placed into the garbage bin in the back of the kitchen but unknown transmission properties and possible contamination create risk factors for staff.
Restaurant owners should minimize contact between staff and possible contaminants. The use of an onsite food waste solution prevents contaminants from spreading across multiple areas and vectors. Rather than dispose of food waste into a garbage bin and wait for it to fill up with possible open air exposure or touching the lid multiple times, staff can simply dump the food waste directly into a food waste digester. Food waste digesters require only one touch point, with lifting and handling done typically on a stainless steel surface.
Restaurants also must abide by the six feet rule while adjusting to a new hybrid indoor and outdoor dining section. Food service workers must cover more ground in the same amount of time.
Budgeting and Costs
Restaurant owners now face new issues of unpredictable revenue, continual staff shortage, and increased demand for labor. It can be difficult to gauge how quickly business will resume, and even harder to predict ebbs and flows of a new business cycle.
All restaurants now face labor shortage issues. Although hospitality workers were given priority in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, not all workers are cleared for returning to work. Those living with high risk family and friends may choose not to return to work unless their loved ones have received the vaccine or until they feel it is comfortable and safe to do so.
Restaurants will see a continued demand for takeaways while in-dining operations steadily grow. The increase in demand will increase responsibilities for both the front and back of the house. When short-staffed already, this will create major back ups in the kitchen and slower service. This places immense pressure on food service workers who are already struggling to keep up. Servers and stewards will have less time for mundane tasks such as cleaning and things that ordinally don’t matter, such as walking back and forth between the garbage bins that are usually outside.
Chef Manager TJ Manning at Marco Polo Aged Care facilities has found that the LFC biodigester has helped reduce time and savings immensely. By reducing the time spent going back and forth between kitchen, dining areas, and garbage bins, the staff were able to spend more time on customer services and operations.
Despite all the new changes and implementations, customers still expect restaurants to commit to the same level of sustainability prior to the pandemic. With increased plastic and trash generated from takeaways, customers have a higher perception of sustainable efforts. Competition between restaurants has become stronger than ever and sustainability is a great way to promote care about customers, the environment, and business.
Montanya Distillers, a women-owned business with a tasting bar and restaurant in Colorado, wanted to distinguish themselves as sustainable leaders in the distillery industry and made the switch to an LFC biodigester in February 2021. In just two months, it broke down 1,400 lb (650 kg) of citrus and food waste from their bar and restaurant. That’s 2.7 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) diverted from the landfill and the atmosphere. The LFC biodigester is now a permanent addition to their distillery expansion and part of their onsite tours.
By incorporating a biodigester into the facility, restaurant owners will see an immediate impact: decreased responsibilities for the staff, increased efficiency in operations, higher customer approval of sustainable effects, and decreased costs. Customers can expect to see financial payback on their biodigester in less than two years with immediate benefits to acclimate to this post covid world.
Contact Power Knot today to learn how a food waste digester can help you stay afloat and ahead of the competition.