As a hospital food service manager, part of your job is continuing to look for new and innovative ways to improve operational efficiency, effectively manage costs, attract new patrons and retain a high level of customer satisfaction. In order to do this, you want to make sure to balance the needs of your operations and employees to service a wide diversity of customers. Luckily, implementing a number of eco-friendly initiatives in your kitchen and retail outlets can boost the effectiveness of your daily operations, promote corporate responsibility and serve as a selling point for new customers.
Once you’ve decided to overhaul your food service management practices to be leaner and greener, there are a number of ways you can work to reduce your carbon footprint while also saving your business a few dollars in the long run. Here are three tips and tricks to keep in mind about implementing environmentally sound initiatives in your hospital food service facility.
1. Emphasize recycling for employees and patrons
One of the absolutely best things you can do to help your business go green is making recycling a key focus of your daily operations. So many recyclable and reusable materials are thrown away every day in the U.S., and recycling just a portion of your usual waste can do wonders to reduce your carbon footprint and benefit planet Earth.
It’s also quite easy to get started recycling in your food service operation – simply place separate bins for aluminum, paper and plastic on your floor to encourage patrons and staff members to do their part. Just make sure you educate your employees on the benefits of properly sorting out recyclable materials. Placing signs around your kitchen and dining room can also help get the green message across. You should make arrangements with a local waste management service to have your recycling professionally sorted and delivered to the proper facilities for reuse.
2. Ditch disposable in favor of reusable
Employing reusable materials in your kitchen and cafeteria can greatly reduce the amount of waste produced every day, even before you worry about sorting out the recycling. For example, providing customers with durable cafeteria trays, plates, silverware, cups and other materials can be a great way to cut out garbage caused by disposable alternatives.
Similarly, using fabric napkins and cleaning rags is a way to get around throwing away paper towels and napkins, which can also be expensive to continue purchasing week after week. You can then wash these items in eco-friendly dishwashing and laundry machines designed to use minimal water and energy.
3. Investigate your purchasing and storage practices
Another ideal way to practice sustainability in your hospital food service operation while keeping costs low is by analyzing the way you purchase and store food items. With breads, meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits and beverages coming in on a weekly basis, many culinary establishments often find themselves overstocking certain items that go to waste during the course of business operations. Additionally, improper refrigeration and storage facilities can cause goods to spoil well before their time.
Taking a second look at the way you stock your inventory can help to eliminate wasted food and other items. Not only is this perfect for making sure good food isn’t thrown away needlessly, but it also works to keep you overall costs low. Try to get a sense of how much of each different type of food or ingredient your staff uses during the week to purchase the appropriate amount without losing excess inventory to waste or spoilage.