Why sustainability is crucial to restaurant success

Published on April 25, 2022

Online delivery and takeaway orders are continuing to rise in our digital-first, often-remote world. While consumers will always want fresh ingredients and a variety of menu offerings, something else is increasingly paramount to their order decisions: a restaurant’s sustainability efforts.

With the increasing urgency behind climate action, there’s never a better time to unpack key findings on consumer perspectives on sustainability trends and expectations related to food delivery, as revealed in a Censuswide survey of 7,000 global consumers commissioned by Deliverect.

While the industry continues to move towards being as eco-conscious as possible in the future, the findings uncover some immediate changes restaurants can put in place to help improve the sustainability of deliveries/takeaways, better appealing to consumers today and ultimately increasing profits.

Now let’s dive into the survey data and how you, as restaurateurs, can leverage them.

Offer sustainable options – because consumers are willing to pay more

Now more than ever, consumers make purchases based on what is meaningful to them.

Interestingly, while 65% of our survey respondents said they find healthy, sustainable eating to be more expensive, almost half (43%) are willing to pay more for takeaways in restaurants that have visible sustainability practices. Another 47% would even consider changing what they order from the menu to be more sustainable.

Some restaurants are already catching on: in fact, 50% of survey respondents already think there are ample sustainable and affordable options in food delivery/takeaways.

Be transparent in your sustainability processes

Communicate, communicate, and communicate with your customers. After all, they want to hear how you’re doing your part to stay sustainable! Specifically, respondents revealed:

•    Over half (56%) would like restaurants to better share how they are working to make takeaways/deliveries more sustainable
•    56% also don’t think restaurants are very transparent about their sustainability practices
•    66% feel it’s important that restaurants are open about their practices to limit food waste

Avoid excessive food waste

The UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index reports more than 900 million tons of food is thrown away each year – and it’s on consumer radars. Our survey revealed that while 67% of consumers usually keep larger than necessary food portions for another meal (leftover), over half (51%) say seeing large amounts of food waste frustrates them and puts them off from ordering from that restaurant again.

Even more so, 73% said that having accurate portion sizes to avoid food waste is important to them, and 68% feel takeaway restaurants should have precautions in place to avoid unnecessary food waste. Not surprisingly, 82% of respondents said it was important restaurants get the right delivery or takeaway food order to avoid food waste.

Be conscious of sustainable packaging

With so many packaging options out there, one thing is certain: consumers are on the lookout for restaurants using sustainable materials. It even impacts where they choose to order from, with the study finding:

•    54% of consumers would prefer to order from restaurants that remove excess packaging from the food delivery
•    Over half (56%) would also show preference to a restaurant that uses eco-friendly packaging and doesn’t use single-use plastic
•    63% of consumers believe having sustainable packaging (plant-based/non-plastic/compostable) is important to them

What does this mean for me?

To maximize these findings and grow your customer base, give the below a try:

1.    Streamlining your order efficiencies to offer customers more sustainable options: To stay up on the competition and meet customer needs, consider making sustainable strides like revamping your menu to include locally-sourced ingredients and cutting down your delivery times. Even better, look to modern technology to improve your operational efficiencies and open the door to more time for you to focus on sustainability. Deliverect automates your online order flow (delivery, click and collect and table apps) to give you faster online order flow to kitchen, better delivery times and faster menu management.

2.    Being transparent: Take your restaurant a step further by reassessing which producers you work with, or by donating a portion of sales to local sustainability organizations and share these initiatives with your customers. A key place to do so is on your digital channels: 54% of consumers said they would love to see the most eco-friendly food options on a restaurant takeaway/delivery app.

3.    Cutting down food waste: Be as thoughtful as possible about your food orders as well as how to handle any extra food (e.g. donating it to a food bank) to help combat this important consumer issue. The Deliverect integrated system ensures 100% accuracy in online deliveries, which not only helps cut down on food waste, but also helps to manage your supplies and save money on mistaken orders.

4.    Upping your eco-friendly packaging: While takeaway/deliveries will require some way to get them from restaurant to home, there are environmentally-friendly steps you can take to help your customers and the planet. As a starting point, choose the eco-conscious materials mentioned above (there are even more creative ways to help the planet – like seed paper packaging) and cut down on the use of cutlery, napkins, etc. in orders.

“Deliverect has helped us to focus on what is important to us and our customers, how we cook our food and how we sustainably package it.  We are receiving the order tickets faster and therefore not making any order mistakes which results in less food wastage. By allowing us to group delivery platforms, we can be much more efficient with deliveries and have seen a 20% time savings and we’re able to get the food out probably two to three times quicker than we were previously.” Mike Palmer – Operating Director – Outback Steakhouse.

Source: GDN Online. Author: Zhong Xu, Co-Founder & CEO of Deliverect.

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