It's world Earth Hour on Saturday, a great chance for business to show a commitment to using less electricity and resources for a sixty minutes. You can turn off exterior signage, dim non-essential interior lighting, have restaurant tables lit by candelight and engage guests in the initiative.
These are just a few ideas from many for the 28th March, 8.30pm event organised by WWF, and they'll lead to brownie points all round, that's for sure, a chance for good PR and a warm glow for you and your employees. Starwood Hotels & Resorts are among those getting involved using some of the above ideas.
But shouldn't Earth Hour be all the time, every day? If we are truly serious about a commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, and actually lifting our head out of the balance sheets and recognising everyone in hospitality has to do something for the planet, oughtn't we to put these measures in place for good?
After all, eating by candelight will appeal to many couples - sustaining relationships as well as the planet.
Nice idea, but some of us have got to make money. You can't do that by being green, especially in the current climate.
Has it not been conclusively proved that green initiatives boost margins either by saving money (energy saving initiatives) or bringing new business in (the majority of consumers make some of their purchasing decisions based on sustainability policies)?
Trouble is, sometimes the savings from greener products (especially kitchen kit) are only realised over their total lifetime. While the ROI of buying, say, a green warewasher, might be attractive in the long run, in the current climate operators might prefer to opt for lower capex and worry about slightly higher energy bills somewhere doen the line.
A fair point, but any right minded lender would be happy to provide cash given explicit evidence of ROI down the line.
The green agenda is too far down the line now for operators to constantly hide behind arguments about the bottom line.
You ask a struggling high street bistro if it'd rather pay less now for a bog-standard fridge, or shell out more for a energy-efficient model and not reap the financial benefit for three or four year - by which time it might already have closed.
It's not all about major investments. Energy saving lightbulbs for example or stepping up recycling efforts.
Look at Marcus Wareing's example: http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2009/02/09/326091/marcus-wareing-seeks-savings-from-waste-bins.html
Green refuseniks are already looking like a relic of days gone by.
They're not looking relics with noone having money right now. We're strugglintg to pay bills, let alone pay out on all these things.
My point is that's it doesn't have to be about investing loads. Having a system in place whereby kitchen staff try and minimise waste doesn't cost money.
Going green and the bottom line are not mutually exclusive.
Sorry mate were just trying to keep our head above water. Going green is too much extra expense for not very much back in about 10 yrs time. Sorry, we just have to pay the staff and the bills the taxman is coming up again isnt he?