Organic restaurants present amazing opportunities for organic farmers, restaurant owners, organic handlers and the organic community as a whole.
That said, maybe you're not sure if you should go organic or not at your restaurant. If you're on the fence, here are ten of the best reasons why you should consider transitioning to organic food at your restaurant.
Organic Food is Growing in Popularity
Organic food trends show that organic foods are growing in popularity. Organic, which used to be a novelty term, is now much more mainstream, and consumers are getting savvy about their organic food purchases. One consumer survey found that 41% of parents are buying more organic foods than a year ago. Another large survey notes that over half of adults say they'll choose organic food over conventional foods.
Most importantly for business owners, organics are here to stay. Current surveys show that once an organic consumer converts, they rarely go back to buying conventional, even when money is tight. When consumers are this passionate about organic food, restaurants can safely get on board with organics as well.
Organic Restaurants Can be Profitable
While purchasing organic food can cost a restaurant more than purchasing conventional food, consumers are willing to pay that extra cost to eat in an environmentally-friendly manner. Surveys show that consumers will cut costs elsewhere in order to afford organic food.
One green dining survey found that most consumers are willing to pay more at restaurants that serve organic and locally grown food. In total, 65% of consumers noted that they would be willing to pay 10% more to dine at a green restaurant. In the same survey, a full one-fifth said they'd pay more than 10% more in order to eat green.
Organic Food is Environmentally Responsible
Growing organic food over conventional food has many benefits for the earth we inhabit. Organic agriculture practices not only protect the planet but can even help improve current negative environmental issues. When you invest in organic food for your restaurant, you help protect the environment. For example:
- Organic farming builds healthy, strong soil which can maintain soil nutrients and help solve erosion problems.
- Organic farming helps to conserve and protect our water supply.
- Organic farming can reduce our need for fossil fuels and helps combat the negative effects of climate change.
- Organic farming encourages healthy biodiversity.
- Organic farming results in less air pollution than conventional farming.
Organic Food is More Appetizing Than Conventional Food
If your restaurant offers conventional food, organic savvy consumers know that they're also getting a meal that may contain pesticides, excess chemicals, additives, hormones and antibiotics and possibly even a heaping helping of sewage sludge. Yum!
Certified organic food, by law, must be free of all the above ick factors, which, you have to admit, makes organic food vastly more appetizing than conventional food.
Organic Food Can Help Maintain a Sustainable Atmosphere
Organic is not necessarily sustainable, but organic food does lend itself to a sustainable mindset, which in turn can help improve your restaurant's image. Incorporating environmentally savvy practices at your restaurant such as water conservation, energy saving, non-toxic cleaning, sustainable design, eco-minded equipment, and furnishings and more go easily hand-in-hand with organic food. Many consumers note that eco-friendly restaurants are more appealing than non-eco-minded establishments.
Organic Food Options Are Varied
It used to be hard to get a simple organic salad when dining out. Now restaurants have a massive selection of certified organic food products to choose from. Organic chefs can now find year-round organic fruits and vegetables, pasta, baking goods, organic chocolate, honey, cheese, and many other organic products, including an impressive organic wine and spirits list. Plus, organic no longer means "greens." Organic meats are widely available, from poultry to beef to lamb and much more. See what's available in certified organic foods.
Organic Food Allows for a Creative Menu
While more and more organic foods are readily available, organic restaurants and their chefs must maintain a unique sense of creativity in order to keep the menu fresh and to keep costs down. Most organic restaurant owners learn fairly quickly that the best way to keep costs low and food fresh is to go organic and local.
That said, not all foods are available all year round locally, or even nationally in organic form, so the menu must change to accommodate the seasons. While cooking with the seasons and product availability can be a challenge, it's also an excellent opportunity to try new dishes, and it keeps the menu fresh and exciting for patrons.
Organic Food Supports the Local Community
According to The Organic Farming Manual, counties with more organic farms and farmers have stronger local economies. As an organic restaurant, you directly help sustain organic farmers and in turn, help to produce a stronger economy. Furthermore, organics, because of their environmental benefits, help keep your local community clean and green.
Organic Restaurants May Increase Staff Productivity and Morale
According to The Green Restaurant Association, several of their Certified Green Restaurants report positive increases in both staff productivity and staff morale once they become green certified. It may be because restaurant employees tend to be between the ages of 20 and 30 — a key demographic for individuals who are interested in green initiatives, including organic issues. Or, it may be because green jobs are on the rise and more desirable.
More and more people don't want "just a job" — they want employment that makes a real difference for their community and the world at large. Organics do make a major difference, and one of the rewards for restaurants can be happier, more productive employees.
Organic Restaurant Marketing Is Easy as Pie
Organic restaurant marketing comes naturally (no pun intended). There's nothing easier than selling customers on farm-fresh goods, local in-season treats, and healthy pesticide-free dishes. Consumers, who may have to be sold on conventional menus, usually flock effortlessly to meals consisting of fresh and local organics.