How do I make my kitchens greener? It is a question that most serious operators are asking themselves on a weekly basis these days and the truth is that there is no short answer.
To the supply chain’s credit, there has been a huge drive to develop greener equipment among manufacturers and this is evident in the latest generation of kit available in the market.
Lower energy consumption, better durability and improved recyclability are all common features of the newer technologies on sale.
But if there is one thing that stands out from the conversations we have had this month it is that the right equipment is only part of the solution. Culture is just as vital.
Success in sustainability is about fostering best practice, channelling the right internal attitude and getting everybody pulling in the right direction — it is as much about how the equipment is used and treated as it is about what the equipment does.
Oliver Rosevear, head of environment at Costa Coffee, called it this month when he described how improved engagement between his team — which has energy usage at the top of its agenda — and the group’s procurement department has altered its approach to specifying new equipment.
While the ultimate goal when choosing any equipment is how to solve a business case, he insists there is now greater acknowledgement that it is also about becoming commercially sustainable.
He explained: “As an example, when we looked at our back-of-house refrigeration, the way our procurement team used to work is they’d go out and say, ‘what do we need from a performance point of view?’ and ‘what’s the lowest price we’re going to get?
“But with refrigeration, you use seven times more cost on energy than you do on the cost of the refrigerator. So it’s about flipping that on its head and thinking about the operational cost, which has really resonated with the business because it allowed us to show saving across the year.”
The technology is there for operators to run more efficient kitchens than ever before, but if businesses really are to get the most from their investments they have got to set the right mindset in the first place.