My top 5 reasons are:

1. You don't source your ingredients locally or seasonally, preferring to buy from a multi-national wholesaler who only cares for profit and not the amount of carbon their trucks destroy my planet with. Because you don't buy your ingredients seasonally you customers have the choice of bland monocultured fruit and veg that's got as much nutrition as the nasty plastic packaging it came in.

2. You don't care about animal welfare, preferring to buy battery farmed chickens that can't stand up properly, that suffer horrible diseases and live in virtual darkness. The eggs these poor creatures produce taste crap and they have to be fed on coloured feed in order to produce a yolk that looks yellow. I could also mention all the other animals like veal calves, but I think you get the picture.

3. You don't recycle the waste your restuarant produces, preferring to stick it all in a plastic bag and hope the landfill won't contaminate the water you drink. You could instead compost the fruit and veg waste, recycle the cardboard, glass and PET plastic and return the shipping boxes back to the wholesaler to use again. Bit more work, but...

4. You waste energy. Why aren't you using low energy light bulbs? Why haven't you replaced that fridge with a low energy one? Why haven't you turned the thermostat down 1 degree? Think of the money you'd save - oh, so now you're interested...

5. You are still serving cod and other endangered fish. Your argument is "it's what the customer wants..." So what are you going to do when those species have gone? Over fish another one?

Of course, you could say "So what? I don't what this guy as a customer", but what if I'm not the only one who won't eat at your restaurant, what if there were more, hundreds even, would you care then?

What's it going to take?

Views: 4


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Jeff Klemetsrud on April 29, 2008 at 3:17pm
I am not the best at this but when you want to make a point you should proofread your rant so that it seems a little bit more credible. Other wise some points are good although nothing grows in MN in the winter.
Comment by Julia Rose on April 29, 2008 at 11:25am
It isn't that hard to reuse, reduce, and recycle the waste that comes from a restaurant. Our latest addition to help saving the environment is our food compost bin. It's right by the dish, next to the "other trash bin." We also recycle glass, plastic, aluminum, and when menus are changed out we use the paper as scrap paper and coasters for a few dishes.
Comment by Randy Caparoso on April 29, 2008 at 7:47am
Thanks for your frank and concerned response, Mark. I'm 100% with you -- these issues need to be addressed by every one of us. Not just our businesses, but also individually. Most importantly, I think since consumers themselves are moving in that direction, they will respond positively to changes made by restaurants benefitting the environment, making it more than worthwhile to go that extra mile.
Comment by Mark McKellier on April 29, 2008 at 2:35am
Thanks for all the comments.

I wrote this as a customer, rather than as someone who knows how restaurants work and the economics involved.

It was written deliberately to provoke the reactions it's got, to make it's readers defend their current operations and to make them consider changing where possible.

No restaurant exists that has achieved my top 5, but I have found a few that are making positive steps to change and their customers are changing with them.

I'm not some loony environmentalist going around asking the impossible, you can't ignore these issues any more, or greenwash your business to look like you care. The time to change, however small, is NOW.
Comment by Randy Caparoso on April 28, 2008 at 7:38pm
... although ironically, tday we went to another alternative style store and bought bulk cereals, grains, pastas and rices... but the only thing they give you to put them in is plastic bags...

Then again, what else are you supposed to put them in? It would be a disaster to try to pack three pounds or rice or flour in paper bags!
Comment by Randy Caparoso on April 28, 2008 at 7:33pm
How about that, Carol... here in Colorado, even the health food stores (from small independents to Whole Foods) still offer paper or plastic. Of course, this past Earth Day we were gifted with a reusable cloth bag by Whole Foods (Safeway was offering them for dollar donations to a local cause), adding to our collection of about five of 'em. Today we went grocery shopping and remembered (for once) to bring it...

Like I said, it's slowly but surely for each and every one of us. Meanwhile, I would hate to see any good, well meaning restaurant go out of business because they are not lily white pure environmentalists. As you well know, cost cutting is getting hairy right now...
Comment by Randy Caparoso on April 28, 2008 at 6:31pm
Gathering from everyone's responses, I guess things are a lot more peachy keen over there in the UK where Mark is eating out. Or are they? Mark, I think maybe you need to defend yourself here. Just how "green" are all your restaurants? If you're going on a high horse, perhaps you better draw us a picture of that horse.

Here in the U.S., we're not all philistines. More and more restaurants are implementing many green philosophies. At the moment, I'm consulting for two different projects (restaurants opening later this year) in two states, both planning as many green policies as possible (purchase of local vegetables, support of free range, humane, hormone/antibiotic-free livestock ranchers, recycling material in the furniture and recycling disposal, etc., etc.).

Yes, we can make the world a better place; and after being in the restaurant business for over thirty years, all I can say is that it takes one step at a time, and an effort from entire communities as much as individual businesses.

In the meantime, speaking for many American restaurateurs: right now our priority is to maintain costs through a difficult economic period. If we can do it while also being environmentally pure, we will. But given the choice between possibly going out of business or giving out the occasional plastic bag for someone's takeout... I think we'd most of us would say screw it, take the f-ing plastic bag.
Comment by Chris Moyer on April 28, 2008 at 8:49am
I get where you're coming from, I just try and remind people that when you want a salad, you want a salad. There's a very limited supply of locally grown lettuce in Chicago, in January. I'm not paying $20 for a side salad and neither are you.

The issue isn't as simple as many people make it seems. I have read and witnessed first hand the realities of blanket statements like"locally grown" has a better carbon footprint. That's not always true.

The bigger issue really is "what are we putting in these transportation vehicles?" We find a solution for fueling the delivery vehicles, we find part of the solution for decreasing carbon footprints associated with the delivery of food.

I recommend reading "Plan B 3.0" by Lester Brown. He thinks very globally on "greening".

As far as the animal welfare thing, just remember that human race uses over 25% more resources a year than the Earth can support and there is still people starving to death. Some concessions will have to be made. Compromise is the backbone to reasonable solution. Dealing in absolutes will only lead you down the path of the "Dark Side".

I like what you have to say. Keep it up!




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Read the latest

Read the latest food and beverage coverage by SmartBrief in SmartBrief Originals: -More

Kids LiveWell turns 3 with 42,000 participating eateries

NRA's Kids LiveWell program has grown from 19 restaurant brands to 150, with 42,000 U.S.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Ward Whitworth Named President for On The Border Mexican Grill

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which was recently acquired by Border Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Argonne Capital Group, today announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border.

The Melting Pot Targets Houston and El Paso, Texas for Franchise Expansion

Restaurants, Inc. announced today that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout the Lone Star State, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.

Encore Restaurants Purchases 8 Existing Five Guys Restaurants, Plans to Develop 45 More

Encore Restaurants, LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., has announced the purchase of eight existing Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants across central California including Elk Grove, Fresno, Lodi, Natomas, Roseville, Stockton, Tracy, and West Sacramento.

Takeout Orders to Hotels Jumped 125% in Popularity in Last Three Years

For many Americans, hotel room service is considered a travel luxury; however, data from PFK Hospitality Research1 suggests that room service revenues fell 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, with some hotels shuttering unprofitable operations altogether.

National Restaurant Association Praises House and Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Travel Promotion Act

Yesterday the National Restaurant Association (NRA) praised the House passage and Senate Commerce Committee markup of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes Brand USA, the nation’s first global marketing campaign, to promote the United States as a destination for international travelers.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service