If the market slump has you wondering how you can afford to make your restaurant eco-friendly while still staying in business, we've got some advice. Start by going green in the one area where customers will still pay you a premium for doing so: beverages.
Yes, your recycling and energy conservations efforts are important. But they won't bring money in right away. Beverages can, because customers aren't nearly as price sensitive about what they drink as about what they eat. That's why so many of the meal deals now sweeping through the industry are structured to more or less break even on food yet make a big profit on beverages. It's the long-time business model for QSRs, and it's a strategy that's proving handy as tough times take hold in full service.
You've got plenty of eco-aware beverage suppliers to pick from. But few of them can out eco-credential the new Terra Firma line of fair trade certified coffees just launched by National Geographic. We're not sure why this prestigious organization is going into the coffee business, but at least it knew enough to partner with Café Bom Dia, a Brazilian company whose sourcing practices in six of the world's premier growing regions emphasize environmental and cultural sustainability. Terra Firma coffee is even roasted on gear that runs on biomass instead of fossil fuel. Café Bom Dia has zero net carbon emissions and is a certified CarbonNeutral company. Who's greener than that?
You'll have to decide for yourself how good the coffee is. But if you're looking for instant green credibility in a high-margin product that has a strong brand image, this, or something similar, could be it.