3 Tips For Going Greener At Your Restaurant
Last night, I joined the thousands of other Americans willing to invest in fine dining once in a while and took my dad out for Father’s Day at a relatively upscale local restaurant. I’m an adventurous eater and am always ready to try new and interesting spots. This place had come highly recommended and had no discernible theme other than, as one friend put it, “the food is kinda French, kind of Italian, and really good.”
Imagine my surprise then when we were handed the prix fixe menu and every single one of the fifteen options was listed as gluten free. What was once a niche detail for the picky eater or the poor soul with the wheat allergy has become so normalized today that nobody had even thought to mention to me that this place had a no-gluten theme. It’s clear that times are changing, and that healthy, specialty food is not only good for consumers, it’s becoming what consumers want. Below are a few tips to bring your food business into the oh-so-green 21st century:
1. Provide not one, but at least three vegetarian options.The limp bowl of pasta or the salad with the iceberg lettuce isn’t going to cut it anymore. More and more, people want good nutritional food that isn’t going to kill them, and for this you need look no further than the fruits and vegetables sections of the food pyramid. Specialty produce or edible flowers can also add more color to your plate, something that has been proven to resonate positively with both children and adults. And speaking of vegetables…
2. Use more microgreens. Microgreens have been popular for the last 30 years or so and are just what they sound like; small, leafy vegetables chosen for their color, flavor, or texture to garnish a dish. (Probably the one you’re most familiar with is cilantro, but there are dozens more!) Microgreens are an excellent way to add interest to a salad or punch up the flavor in an otherwise milder dish. I could spend the rest of this section telling you all about how to grow microgreens since I attempted them last summer in my garden, but I’m not going to. I do not know how to grow microgreens. Growing microgreens is hard–I don’t think a single one of mine lived past a few sad sprouting weeks, so if adding more microgreens to your menu sounds like a good idea, please contact a nursery or food distributor, and leave how to grow microgreens to the professionals.
3. Go organic whenever possible. In times where water can be casually lit on fire and big supermarkets are selling genetically modified Franken-veggies, consumers want to know that their food is being grown in wholesome and ethical ways. Make sure to use as many organic ingredients as possible and then advertize your choices accordingly–I had one guy tell me last week that the apple he was handing me was a “100% organic green apple,” and you know what? That made me feel a lot better about putting it in my mouth!
Although some of these decisions might cost a little bit in the beginning, I’m confident that if you stick with it, you’ll soon attract a whole new slew of regular customers willing to spend the extra dollar on food that will nourish rather than slowly destroy their bodies. Please check back here after you’ve implemented some changes and let me know how it went!