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There are several foodservice companies that have made the jump to be green not only because it seems to be what customers want and because it is “what’s right” but also because of the money savings associated with going green.

Starbucks

When a coffee giant like Starbucks goes green its hard not to take notice. Starbucks has made large strides since early 2009 to move in a more eco-friendly direction. Starting with little steps like changing out lightbulbs for more energy efficient lightbulbs and taking larger steps to redesign the way they build and furnish each store. Starbucks has shown that every little step in the right direction helps. In fact, by 2010, all new Starbucks (SBUX) stores built in the USA will be green buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit independent group that certifies buildings that meet minimum green standards.

Recently Starbucks launched their reusable cup campaign where they encourage patrons to bring in a reusable cup and receive a discount on their beverage. Check out this link to a video Starbucks put together about their reusable cup campaign. I found it clever: http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility

Ted’s Montana Grill

Anyone who has ever eaten at a Ted’s Montana Grill knows that you won’t find plastic straws in your drink. That’s because Ted’s has replaced them with eco-friendly paper straws. But that’s not all Ted’s has done in the name of green. Ted’s is a restaurant taking more steps to decrease their carbon footprint with the type of green practices they take part in, then any other national chain. From the recyclable products they use to even the low water use toilets in the bathroom, Ted’s Montana Grill is tops when it comes to eco-friendly dining. Ted’s website explain’s it best:

Ted’s Montana Grill has a deep commitment to the environment and our goal is to be 99% plastic-free. That’s why we re-introduced the paper straw, (not produced in the United States since 1970) and use it in all of our restaurants. Menus are printed on 100% recycled paper. Our to-go cups are made of cornstarch that bio-degrades in landfills in just 50 days. Soft drinks are served in recyclable glass bottles. Our take-away food is placed in Bio-Plus Earth Containers, which are high-quality, bio-degradable containers that are microwavable. These containers have been endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association. In addition to maintaining a 99% plastic-free restaurant, we also try to conserve energy and water. In Tallahassee, Fla., we worked with the city’s Energy Services division and One World Sustainable Inc. to install 66 solar panels on the top of our restaurant. And we are always looking for innovative ways to reduce our energy consumption like wind generators as well as low voltage lighting in all of our restaurants. Many of the restaurants feature water-efficient toilets in order to help conserve water. And all of our restaurants are non-smoking. (source: http://www.tedsmontanagrill.com/eco.html)

Chipotle

The burrito giant has been eco-conscience since it was founded. Chipotle has made every effort to make sure they not only are green but also organic whenever possible.They focus on creating food that is good for you on a different level by offering local and sustainable foods whenever possible. “We are serving more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant company. All of this meat comes from animals that are raised in a humane way, and never given antibiotics or added hormones.” ~ Steve Ells, Founder & CEO of Chipotle.

Because Chipotle strives to provide their customers with sustainable, natural food, everything taste better and is better for you. They serve food that is unprocessed, hormone free, naturally raised and organic. Chipotle’s efforts have inspired many other restaurants to get on board with this kind of “food with integrity” thinking.

Learn more about Chipotle at http://www.chipotle.com

It is not just the big chain restaurants taking the green plunge either…

Prasino

Prasino is a family owned eco-friendly restaurant in the Chicagoland area that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The name of the restaurant is the Greek word for green which is at the heart of the restaurant’s mission – to provide healthy food at an affordable price in a modern, environmentally conscious setting. Prasino has recently taken steps to become certified by the Certified Green Commercial Kitchen Program. “Whatever you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, whether it’s in your home or business, professionally or personally, it adds up. So if everybody takes an active role in it, it will make a big difference at the end of the day. It’s what I practice at home and what I wanted to implement as a business owner,” ~ Peggy Maglaris, General Manager of Prasino. Learn more about Prasino athttp://www.eatgreenlivewell.com

White Dog Cafe

Opened in 1983 as a small take out coffee shop, White Dog Cafe has since grown into one of Philidelphia’s favorite and most recognized restaurants. Known for its award winning contemporary American dishes, White Dog Cafe specializes in civicengagement and environmental sustainability. They only use foods and that are from farms that practice sustainable farming and pasture fed livestock as well as seafood from sustainable sources.

Judy Wicks, owner of the White Dog Cafe, says going green has helped her stay in business for 25 years. “The decisions that I’ve made, though they may seem like they will cut into profits in the short term, have led to a long-term financially sustainable business,” she says.

“One of the reasons my business is still here is that customers appreciate what I’m doing,” she adds. “That results in loyalty that is irreplaceable. And in the long run, that has made us more profitable.”

Wicks is considered a pioneer of the green movement, although she concedes that she didn’t even know the terms “green” or “sustainable” 20 years ago. “It just made sense to me to buy from local farmers,” she says. (source: http://www.rimag.com/article/373546-Green_and_growing.php)

Learn more about White Dog Cafe at http://www.whitedog.com


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