Making delicious food in an environmentally-conscious, sustainable way is the new driver for many UK restaurants.
From a renowned fine-dining restaurant in Northumberland sourcing locally to a seafood restaurant in Glasgow serving only sustainably caught fish, the future of sustainability in the UK restaurant industry looks promising.
We put together a quick list of 5 eco-conscious places gaining well-deserved attention across the country. Hopefully, you’ll see how creating a sustainable business happens in a variety of ways – from ground-breaking concepts to small choices that add up to big changes.
It takes more than just organic produce and paper straws to really make an impact. From growing their own vegetables and rethinking energy usages to reducing food waste and minimising their Carbon footprints, these sustainable (and delicious) restaurants are setting the standard in the United Kingdom and beyond.
If you're in Northumberland, visit Restaurant Pine. This fine-dining restaurant received both a Michelin star in the Michelin Guide and a Green Star for Sustainability.
All of their produce is sourced within a 20-mile radius to cut down on emissions needed to transport from farm to table – and to support local farms. They also grow a variety of vegetables on-site and are making plans to become self-sufficient.
Siân Buchan and Cal Byerley believe that zero waste and being sustainable are important mindsets that they want to pass on to their guests.
"It’s always been about the food we create at Pine. Everything is about our surroundings and our sense of belonging to this place. The food we create is a reflection of our collective passion for the amazing larder we are lucky to call home - Northumberland.’’ – Cal Byerley and Ian Waller
Located on the historic walls of Chester, hypha is teaching guests what a closed-loop system is… and how it can be delicious.
The restaurant uses only ingredients from local suppliers, growers and foragers. That means that the menu must evolve and adapt to the environment. What’s even cooler, is the fermentation lab at hypha. Here, no stem or stalk goes to waste.
Hypha’s commitment to controlling their supply chain and dedication to carefully choosing suppliers with the same passion for sustainability helped the restaurant earn its Michelin Green Star.
“We’re not preachy, we’re not trying to convert people… all we want to do is to make some tasty and innovative food.” – Nicholas Friar
Gamba prides itself on locally-sourced, sustainably-caught seafood. Sustainable fishing generates less waste and minimises energy consumption.
From prawns and bass to apples and goat cheese, the team at Gamba believe that their commitment to total sustainability is a part of the guest experience.
“Our chefs endeavour to source sustainable fish, and locally source as many products as possible. Not only does this provide the very best for our customers, but it allows us to support our fellow small local businesses.” – Derek Marshall
Hawksmoor has done what very few large restaurant companies have… kept its promises. From Manchester to NYC, they guarantee that everything on the plate has been sourced sustainably and ethically.
It’s not just sourcing that has helped the group earn a three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. They go further with projects such as bones for dogs, staff taking leftovers home and turning 100% of food waste into biogas.
By switching to green energy, the company has reduced their footprint to the equivalent of taking 103 cars off the road.
“We do this kind of thing not because it’s trendy and cool or because we’re natural tree-huggers or hippy peaceniks. We do it because we want to – it’s the kind of company we want to be and the kind of restaurants we want to run. We want a business we can be proud of – whether that’s making sure the food we serve is as good as possible, that the animals lived a decent life, or that everyone who works with us enjoys what they do.” – Hawksmoor
Where The Light Gets In is well-known for not having a menu. Instead, this Stockport restaurant uses produce grown on its farm and garden to create an ever-changing dining experience based on ingredients available that day.
With a Green Michelin Star, WTLGI understands the importance of engaging with a food system that you believe in, and that the menu should nourish both the body and the ecosystem.
“For me, sustainability means being able to keep something going long term. In that sense, every business needs to be sustainable.” – Sam Buckley
Restaurant sustainability includes any actions that minimise your impact on the planet such as shortening the supply chain, decreasing food waste, lowering water and energy consumption, recycling, and sustainable farming.
When restaurants go green and focus on sustainability, they do less damage to the environment, lower costs and win loyalty from guests.
Sustainability in the restaurant industry is essential to achieving growth and keeping your customers happy.
Restaurant guests are becoming more and more aware of their impact on the planet and starting to seek out green businesses and pay more for eco-friendly experiences.
It’s not expensive to move to a more sustainable way of working. Restaurants can reduce their energy and water consumption and save costs in the long run.
The good news is that sustainability doesn’t have to happen overnight (would be great if it did, though). Think of all of the small decisions you can make today that will have a big impact later.
Restaurants around the globe are rolling out sustainable, green initiatives such as localised supply chains and less packaging waste. But what’s right for one restaurant may not be right – or possible – for another.
Here are 6 ways to make your restaurant more sustainable.
1. Minimise Food Waste
Hawksmoor has a program that lets staff take home leftovers. Hypha has very little waste because of their fermentation lab. Another option is Too Good To Go – an app that connects customers to your leftover food. Just one bag (a Magic Bag) saves 2.5 kg of CO2 from being wasted.
Olleco offers a service that collects and turns used cooking oil and food waste into biofuels, bio-fertilizer and green energy solutions.
The Restaurant Sustainability Association offers a way for businesses to find solutions for their sustainability challenges.
2. Use energy-efficient appliances
It would be great if every kitchen had the resources to switch from standard appliances to ones designed to conserve energy, but that's not realistic.
Start small. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. These use 75% less energy. While you’re at it, install motion sensors in the bathrooms so the lights automatically go off when the room isn’t in use.
3. Decrease water consumption
From water-saving toilets to low-flow spray valves, there are countless options to help you reduce the amount of fresh water you’re using.
4. Buy local
Most of the restaurants we listed above have a focus on tightening their supply chain by buying from local farms and suppliers. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but you’ll also give back to the community that supports you.
Not sure where to get started? Discover how localising your food supply chain can help you save money and have less impact on the planet.
5. Use less packaging and recycle
Restaurants like When The Light Gets In composts the cardboard they receive to help tighten their closed-loop approach.
Less packaging waste is another benefit of buying from local farms and vendors.
The First Mile is a service that can help recycle up to 90% of your waste – from coffee grounds and glass to plastics and cooking oil.
6. Choose eco-friendly cleaning products
What about the cleaning products your restaurant uses? When The Light Gets In makes sure to buy all hand wash and soap from a local supplier to cut down on transport.
For more on sustainability, listen to what leaders like Matt Orlando have to say in Episode 1 of The Recipe podcast.