July 10, 2023
Devn Ratz

How to Reduce Carbon Footprints with Sustainable Food Delivery

The rise of food delivery service created uncertainty for the future of restaurants, but no so much as the future of our planet. Still, restaurants are determined to thrive among rapidly changing preferences for environmental concern and conservation. 

Know the importance of sustainability, restaurants look at their emission-making deliveries. They analyze the agricultural cost of meats, especially compared to vegan menu alternatives. And, eventually, sustainable restaurants see the interconnected possibilities for improving service and customer satisfaction through technology. 

If you're not yet thinking about how to serve customers in 5 years, 10 years, or the year 2050, perhaps you should. Revolution Ordering offers this guide to help you accelerate responsible sales through sustainable food delivery technology. Calculate your restaurant emissions, reduce carbon footprints at your restaurant, and delight customers with shared values.

Key Takeaway: Restaurant sustainability begins when you reduce carbon footprints through analysis, awareness, and online ordering software benefits.
Find out how to reduce your restaurant's carbon footprint with Revolution's complete guide to sustainability.

Targeting a Reduced Carbon Footprint at Restaurants

Your restaurant's carbon footprint equals the total amount of "greenhouse" emissions that come from producing, using, and retiring its offerings. 

Troublesome gases include carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas that raises the planet’s average temperature. Others are methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorescents. Each one of these greenhouse gases traps heat in the atmosphere and disrupts global conditions, weather, and stability. 

These gases come from all kinds of machinery, business needs, and service offers. But, transportation, operations, and food will dominate your restaurant's carbon footprint (and operating expenses).

How to Calculate Your Restaurant's Carbon Footprint

Adding up emissions and setting the goal to reduce carbon footprints means looking into your resource usage, efficiency standards, and future opportunities. 

Gain insight into how to reduce carbon footprints by gathering these costs from your restaurant data analytics:

  • Transportation and delivery fuel expenses
  • Total energy billed for the restaurant (or multiple locations)
  • Total expenses throughout restaurant operations
  • Total food waste 

Then, use the EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator to estimate the impact of your energy usage, transportation, and even recyclable waste. 

You can also compare your annual CO2 emissions to national averages with their help. The calculator can also help you see the positive effect of saving, recycling, and improving sustainability practices at your restaurant. 

Estimating Your Food Menu's Carbon Footprint

When it comes to analyzing the cost of food (and restaurant food waste), you don't need to calculate the precise poundage of each ingredient for every order. Instead, you can start to implement best practices through a simple observation: the price of sustainability technology and improvement is usually savings. 

Consider the case of substituting 100 lbs. of ground beef for a plant-based vegan burger. Let's say you made the vegan switch for a few items on your menu:

  • The emissions made by the vegan burger add up to 103 kg of CO2. 
  • Shockingly, the same amount of beef builds up 1,063 kg of CO2. 

When you make a restaurant menu carefully, you can dramatically reduce carbon footprints through plant-based options and healthy alternatives. In the process, you're likely to impress customers who may be willing to pay more for the most conscious service.

7 Ways to Reduce Carbon Footprints with Sustainable Food Delivery

Restaurants serve multiple menu, service, and customer experiences through many unique processes. This means a carbon footprint for every operation and workflow, an impact for every customer. Learn to reduce carbon footprints by making food delivery more sustainable. 

These restaurant sustainability initiatives can enhance your attractiveness to new customers and those already in your loyalty programs. The total effort will help increase customer spending while cutting restaurant expenses due to waste or inefficiency.

1. Order Tracking and Emission Reduction

Online ordering for restaurants can instantly assign, route, and optimize deliveries according to location and demand. 

In practice, this means delivery drivers never stretch your mileage and costs further than necessary. It also ensures they keep order fulfillment times short and sweet.

2. Driver Training and Vehicle Maintenance

Ensure you coach drivers on best practices to conserve energy while driving, even while following pre-planned routes along order tracking. Train your employees to reduce carbon footprints from fossil fuels by maintaining a constant, cruising speed while following automated routes. 

You should also ensure your vehicles, electric or not, run smoothly and efficiently by giving them regular maintenance. Poorly running cars and trucks produce more emissions and cost more to drive.

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3. Energy Usage and Alternative Fuel

Monitor your restaurant's use of electricity, appliances, and equipment to spot opportunities to unplug, turn off, and save money for your brand.

As you choose restaurant equipment, look for strong Energy Star ratings. Having more efficient cooking and prep equipment will protect your bottom line–and our atmosphere.

4. Less Meat and More Vegetarianism

In calculating your restaurant carbon footprint, you probably noticed meat is costly compared to alternatives that use fewer agricultural resources. 

Make the switch to gluten-free, non-dairy, and plant-based to enjoy capturing customers looking for conscious dining. See how much you save on restaurant inventory management expenditures when you cut spoilage too.

5. Going Organic and Buying Local

There's no reason to feel limited by sustainable food options for restaurants when you can go organic—rather than purely vegan. This still helps your product differentiation while easing strain on resources.

To reduce carbon footprints and emissions, mind where you source food as much as which foods your restaurant offers. This matters when most greenhouse gases result from product and service creation (before ever interacting with customers).

6. Cut Food Waste and Manage Stock

Restaurant order-taking systems like Revolution Ordering include reporting and analytics to help you predict (and manage) your restaurant's inventory. 

With its insight, online ordering integration and automations make it simple to stay ahead of stockouts, shortages, and sustainability standards. 

When you save food, time, energy, and ingredients from becoming waste, you uplift customer retention and reduce carbon footprints.

7. Restaurant Recycling and Packaging

Give your customer the ultimate impression of contactless hospitality and preferred sustainability through recycled packaging. 

These branded materials can mean cost reduction when compared to freshly pressed paper and plastics. Your reused material in order packaging tells customers you really care about conserving the planet while still preparing excellent fare.

8. Efficiency Ratings and Tax Incentives

At the end of the fiscal year, you'll find many wonderful reasons to reduce carbon footprints through tax deductibles, rebates, and benefits. 

Under some conditions, your business can save by investing in becoming more environmentally friendly. Consult an enterprise restaurant tax expert on how you could benefit from investing in sustainable technology. 

Reduce carbon footprints with Revolution Ordering's sustainable tech. Schedule your demo.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Reduce Carbon Footprints

Do you think you can make your restaurant more sustainable and ready for new customers? 

Discover how you can reduce carbon footprints at your restaurant through common questions from restaurant owners and operators. Learn what increases your carbon footprint (and costs) most. 

We’ll show you to use your restaurant's business practices for reduced emissions while watching restaurant KPIs and environmental factors.

How can you reduce the carbon footprint of a restaurant?

Reducing a restaurant's carbon footprint means looking closely at energy usage, food waste, and service operations. 

The first step is to estimate your current emissions rate and set strategies to reduce carbon footprints through smarter delivery routes, recipes, and restaurant software:

  • Reduce energy consumption with electric delivery vehicles
  • Replace inefficient bulbs with conservative LED lighting
  • Turn off appliances and equipment when not being used
  • Recycle materials for your order delivery packaging
  • Invest in electric vehicles and Energy Star appliances
  • Use restaurant inventory management software for less waste

What increases a restaurant's carbon footprint the most?

Transportation, operations, and food are responsible for most of a restaurant's carbon footprint. When you calculate emissions, these create the majority of greenhouse gases responsible for global climate change. 

By driving, serving, and cooking more consciously, restaurants create room for sustainability and bottom line savings.

Which restaurant changes can reduce carbon footprint?

The best reductions to your carbon footprint come from changes made to your restaurant processes before you serve customers. That’s because most emissions are made while creating or preparing services and products, rather than when they're sold.

Positive improvements for improved restaurant sustainability might include:

  • Better order tracking and route optimization
  • More energy efficiency or electric delivery vehicles
  • Offer meat alternatives and healthy, vegan options
  • Reduce food waste with inventory management tools
  • Add recycling and responsible delivery packaging
  • Leverage restaurant delivery software for automation
Learn how to reduce your carbon footprints across all your restaurant locations with a free resource to sustainability in restaurants.